By Justin Hotop
The Perryville football program will have a new boss patrolling the sidelines next season.
Former Imperial Windsor offensive coordinator Blane Boss was named the school’s new head coach Tuesday, replacing former coach Mike Wojtczuk, who resigned in February.
The Perry County School District 32 Board of Education made the announcement Tuesday.
“We are excited about Blane going the staff,” Perryville Assistant Athletic Director Justin Dreyer said. He brings a lot of energy and we know he is excited to start working.”
Boss spent the last seven seasons as an assistant under head coach Greg Westermayer, helping lead the Owls to a 4-6 record last season.
“It felt it was time to go off on my own and try to run a program on my own and see what I could do,” Boss said. “I wanted a chance to run the ship.”
Perryville is coming off a 15-45 record the last six seasons and a 2-8 record in 2016, including a 34-22 loss to Windsor. Boss hopes to use his experience as both a coach and a player to improve on that record.
As a Senior running back at Windsor in 2003, Boss set the school’s single-season rushing record of 2,325 yards, which included a then-state-record 508-yard, 6-touchdown performance in a 38-14 victory over Hillsboro. The record has since been broken.
Boss graduated Windsor in 2004 and still holds the career rushing record at the school, with a total of 5,136 yards.
“It’s there for people to see all the records I achieved,” Boss said. “But I couldn’t have done it without the help of my teammates and coaches. It was a team effort. I can hopefully show the kids what it takes it get to the top, because individually I’ve been there. We can do it together.”
Boss went on to play baseball at St. Charles Community College and eventually pitch at Northwestern State in Louisiana. During his sophomore season at St. Charles, just prior to transferring to Northwestern State, Boss suffered a torn labrum in his right throwing shoulder. After redshirting as a junior, Boss returned to the mound, but never felt quite the same.
“Looking back, I wish I could have done both,” Boss said. “It was a tough decision. I was fortunate enough to have an uncle who played in the Major Leagues and I had him in my ear guiding me. I felt I could go farther playing baseball, but injuries are a part of the game.”
Boss’ uncle is Brian Boehringer, a switch-hitting pitcher who won a World Series ring with the New York Yankees in 1996. He also spent parts of his 10-year career with the San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Boss is eager to take over at Perryville and has high expectations for himself and the team, which is expected to return 20 seniors for the 2017 season. Boss said he wants to be competitive against every team on the Pirates schedule next season and it all starts with hard work.
Windsor Athletic Director Kevin Stoffey believes Boss can achieve his goals as the coach at Perryville.
“He has the work ethic to do go above and beyond what anyone else would do,” said Stoffey, who coached Boss during his high school days at Windsor. “He is definitely a student of the sport and constantly wants to know more to get better at what he does. He’s not the type to settle for mediocre.”
Boss said he expects a lot of his players, both on and off the field.
“I’m very big on concentrating on the things in the classroom before we can do things on the football field,” Boss said.
While Boss said it was too early to set a goal for victories for the Pirates next season, he hopes the returning players will buy into his system, a balanced attack on offense and defense.
“If the kids can see that the coaching staff is going to work hard for them and we can get all those juniors to stay out and lead the younger guys,” Boss said, “Hopefully we can grow together and do some big things on Friday nights.”