Notre Dame football is in good hands as the program transitions to a new coach for the first time in its history.
Bill Rychel has taken over to lead the Falcons as they look to improve on their performances last year. Last season, the Falcons went 7-4 overall and 7-3 in the Mountain East Conference. And the coaching staff has a lot of talent to work with as they look to improve on what they have built.
Rychel grew up in Shaker Heights and Chesterland, eventually going to West Geauga High School and then playing collegiately at Mount Union. He worked at small schools in Iowa, Indiana and also worked at Ohio Northern. He met previous Falcons coach, Adam Howard, when Howard was working at Baldwin Wallace. When Howard started a football program at Notre Dame, he and Rychel were a team.
“I liked that we had the opportunity to start up a football program in my hometown,” Rychel said. “We were able to bring football to Notre Dame.”
And as Rychel and the Falcons have started the season, he has found out that there are a lot of changes that come along with being head coach. Rychel was the offensive coordinator with the team in the past but now has to make sure the entire team is ready to go.
“Being a head coach is really about being team oriented and making sure everyone has the resources needed to succeed,” he said.
And unlike being in a coaching box like years past, he is now roaming the sidelines to make sure everything runs smoothly.
“The first game, I was like a duck out of water,” he continued, “and the game seems longer now, when in the past I was focused on how the offense can improve.”
The Falcons are looking to continue their steady improvement from year to year. And Rychel wants to continue building the program the “right way.”
“In the past we’ve gotten good wins, and we put football on campus,” he said. “Now we want to get better, win the conference and continue to put a winning team on the field every game.”
And according to Rychel, the tough start to the schedule has been frustrating but also a great way to learn.
“You have to come to play in this conference. The team that wins this conference is prepared for the playoffs,” he said.
The season is young and the players are looking ahead to their next game where they know a win can be around the corner with the right amount of effort, according to the coach.
“I am proud of the guys, and they have put us in position to win,” Rychel said. “The wins will come, but as a young team, we have to work on closing out close games.”