Three years ago, Dave Hart needed to establish an identity for Covenant football. That’s a tall task for any head coach to pull off, but Hart managed to get Covenant on track with a ball control, veer-option offense and in 2015 end a playoff drought that stretched back to 2008.
It was just one of many accomplishments in an eight-year career at Covenant as both an assistant coach, physical education teacher and assistant athletic director. That tenure at Covenant will end after this year when Hart joins Athletes in Action, a ministry based in Xenia, Ohio.
“Dave Hart has quietly and self-sacrificially made the Covenant athletics department run and run well,” said Head of Upper School Leslie Moeller in the school’s press release. “He will be deeply missed both for the example he has set and the excellence of his work.”
Covenant will begin a search for a new assistant athletic director while also looking to appoint a new head coach. Assistant coach Seth Wilson will serve as the interim coach during that process. Hart has set a pretty solid foundation for the right coach to build on.
“I’m so thankful to have been a part of Covenant Athletics for these last eight years. I believe that Covenant Athletics will continue to thrive as the amazing administration, coaches, and athletes continue to pursue excellence,” Hart said in the release.
After some years of turmoil followed by Dave Rocco’s steadying tenure with Hart as an assistant, Hart took over as head coach and installed the option-based attack, with Austin Llera and then Rick Weaver carrying the load in highly-productive rushing attacks. This year Donovan Jackson and then Weaver in the second half of the year maintained that ball control, run-first identity that propelled the Eagles to a 5-5 record in 2014 and a 5-5 record in 2015 that led to a playoff berth in the VISAA Division II state semifinals. Covenant finished 3-7 this year, beset by a rash of injuries in the offseason that continued into the year that made things tough on a rebuilding roster. Hart also had a hand in the establishment of an eight-man junior varsity program that started this year with a series of games against Blue Ridge.