End of an era: Jasper's Ahrens steps down

Herald File Photo by Brittney Lohmiller
Jasper's Tony Ahrens announced on Sunday that he will be stepping down from his role as the Wildcats head football coach. Ahrens has been Jasper's head coach for the past 16 seasons and has worked in some sort of role with the Wildcat football program for the past 34 years. He compiled a 144-44 record as a head coach and led Jasper to three sectional championships, one regional title and nine outright or shared Big Eight conference crowns.

From Herald Staff Reports

After 34 years in some sort of role with the Jasper football team, head coach Tony Ahrens announced his retirement from the Wildcat football program on Sunday at the annual end-of-the-season Jasper football banquet.

Ahrens was the head coach of the Wildcats for the past 16 seasons where he compiled a 144-44 record along with three sectional championships (2005, 2008, 2013), a regional title (2005), seven outright Big Eight conference championships (2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015) and two co-Big Eight titles (2006, 2014).

While Ahrens will be retiring from the sidelines, Jasper athletic director Brian Lewis confirmed that Ahrens will continue his teaching duties as a physical education instructor at Jasper High School.

Ahrens, who graduated from Jasper High School in 1978, spent 18 years as an assistant head coach under Jerry Brewer who has the second-most wins in Indiana high school football history (368) before taking over as head coach in 2003. Since taking over that role, Ahrens teams never finished with a sub-.500 record and his 144 total wins ranked 31st among all active coaches. During his tenure, Jasper reached 10 wins at least seven times.

The Jasper Athletic Department tweeted out a thank you to Ahrens on their Twitter account (@JasperAthletic) that read: “Thank You ‘T’! This man has changed the lives of many for many years! Congratulations on 34 Years of Service! You have always been more than just a Coach! Jasper Football loses another legend today, but you will always be Jasper Football!”

The Wildcats will now begin a search for their new head coach — it will be just their sixth coach in program history.

The Cats are coming off of a season that saw them finish with a 6-5 record before being knocked out by Boonville in the sectional semifinal. Jasper will graduate several key players from this year’s team including quarterback Jacob Ahlbrand, wide receiver Reece Milligan, defensive back Isaac Bartley, linebacker Kyle Hedinger, linemen Carter Gentry, Jadon Mehringer and Trevor Krapf as well as tight end Phillip Noblitt. However, the Cats will also return several key pieces including quarterback Nathan Rillo and running backs Lance Dawkins and Elliott Hopf.

More on DuboisCountyHerald.com