Brenner steps down as Triway football coach

Brenner steps down as Triway football coach

Triway is looking for a new head football coach.

Eric Brenner informed the school recently that he was stepping down after five seasons at the helm.

“It was an extremely tough decision to make,” said Brenner, who compiled a 22-25 overall record, highlighted by a 7-2 season in 2021 during which the Titans were co-champs in the Principals Athletic Conference. “I know it's gonna sound cliche because every coach ever said the same thing, but I legitimately do want to be able to spend more time with my kids.”

Brenner and his wife, Libby, have children who are ages 4 and 8 and he wants to be around the family more.

“I still love the game and I love those kids, the program and the school,” said Brenner, who teaches social studies at the high school. “It’s a job I wanted and it was absolutely a tough thing to give up. I’m only 36 and hope to coach again one day, but I just felt like I had to step away at this time.”

Brenner was an assistant coach under his father-in-law, Tony Lee, for eight years from 2009-16. After Lee retired and the Titans hired Drew Sarachman as coach for one season in 2017, Brenner joined the Orrville coaching staff.

However, Sarachman lasted just one season and Brenner was brought back as Triway’s head coach in 2018. The Titans went 2-8 in his debut season as head coach, followed by records of 6-4, 3-4, 7-2 and 4-7 this past fall.

“For 14 years — ever since I graduated college – I’ve been coaching football and it’s gonna be tough to stop,” he said. “It’s been a big part of my life.

“I would have liked to have my final season be a winner and that's the biggest disappointment. That's the thing I kind of debated the most was walking away after a season that I wasn't satisfied with, but that's just got to be part of it. We had shared the PAC co-title the year before and we really thought we could challenge for it again, but unfortunately we had some bad luck and some things that didn’t go our way.”

The Titans’ biggest win under Brenner arguably came in 2019, when they defeated Manchester 29-18 at Jack Miller Field. The Panthers, who were led by current Cincinnati Bearcats player Ethan Wright, went on to finish 9-4 that season.

“My most memorable season would be 2021 with Zac Miller, Cam Soss, Seth Vizzo and the other guys on that team,” Brenner said. “For one game, that Manchester win against a team coached by Jim France and having Ethan Wright definitely sticks out the most.

“We weren’t as successful as we wanted, but I think I left it in a better place than I found it. I appreciate all of my coaches and players.”

Triway co-athletic director Pat Honza thanked Brenner for the job he did and said the school will set up a search committee after the holiday break. The job will be opened up first to internal candidates.

“They won some big games with Eric as coach,” Honza said. “There’s always room for improvement, but I think he did his best and they had some success. We will work to find a coach who can hopefully take the football program to the next level.”