Fuhs named Forest Park football coach

By JOHN PATISHNOCK
Herald Sports Writer

FERDINAND — Ross Fuhs received his birthday present early this year.

Fuhs

Wednesday night, the Southeast Dubois School Board approved the hiring of Fuhs as Forest Park’s new football coach, a little more than a month after Terry Wagner retired after guiding the program through its first four varsity seasons. Now, Fuhs, a Huntingburg resident who will turn 27 Dec. 16, assumes command.

Fuhs, a 2003 Southridge graduate who was an all-state lineman on the 2002 Class 2A state runner-up team, served as the offensive and defensive line coach for the Rangers over the past three years.

Now, he gets what he’s always wanted.

“I’m definitely excited,” said Fuhs, who graduated from Indiana University in 2007 and teaches P.E. and health at Forest Park. “It’s always been a dream of mine to be a head coach and right here in my backyard in Dubois County; it’s even better, it’s more exciting. The program is in a really good spot, going in a good direction.

“Terry did a great job of building the program and I definitely want to continue on and I definitely plan to use a lot of the things he did.”

Fuhs said Wagner “highly recommended” him for the position, and Fuhs also received backing from Forest Park athletic director Doug Louden.

“I think we knew from the get-go that he was the right man,” Louden said.

“He proved over the years that he was ready and I think we’re not going to miss a beat. Being under Wagner over the years is just going to benefit him in many ways. Terry laid the foundation and now Ross is just going to run with it and take the program to the next level.”

Others in the area know Fuhs, too.

Fuhs was a volunteer coach at Southridge while in school at IU, and then completed his student coaching at Heritage Hills under retired coach Bob Clayton. Fuhs regularly talks to both Clayton and Southridge coach Kelly Murphy, and leaned on both for advice over the last few weeks.

“They just always said be yourself and they were always real supportive,” said Fuhs, who is engaged to Cassandra Kern, a 2002 Southridge graduate. “Anytime I coached under them they thought I knew what I was doing and I’d make a good head coach. ... I feel like I’ve got a pretty good amount of knowledge.”

Fuhs enrolled in classes that focused on weight training while at IU and said he has confidence in his ability to break down film. He said he plans to rely on a ground game after the Rangers were a bit more aerial over the past few years, taking advantage of the athletes they featured on the outside. Defensively, expect Forest Park to blitz more and rely on a zone defense. That is a little bit of a switch from the man-to-man defense that Wagner preferred, but Fuhs likes mixing things up a bit.

The new coach isn’t going for a total overhaul, though. He wants to continue the Rangers’ work in the weight room, capitalizing on Wagner’s ability to generate excitement for football at Forest Park.

“Terry was pretty fiery and I think I’ll be the same way,” Fuhs said. “You almost have to be kind of fiery to be a head coach.”

An initial challenge for Fuhs will be to solidify the coaching staff, which he said is currently “in flux.”

After that, he figures everything else will follow. And for a guy who called receiving this opportunity “a dream” about a half-dozen times, it’s easy to believe him when he says what Forest Park fans should expect under his leadership.

“I think one of the things is the kids are definitely going to play hard, that’s one thing I learned everywhere I was,” Fuhs said. “We’re going to be competitive and we’re going to be prepared to play, and those are things that I think are really important.”

Contact John Patishnock at jpatishnock@dcherald.com

 

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