|Queen City High Get Sports Info WCPO Twitter Facebook YouTube I-High|
|Home Teams Scoreboard Standings News 275 LOOP Player of Week Links Listen Live Awards Podcasts Photos Advertise Contact Us|
Mike Orlando knows a thing or two about winning. In his senior year at Steubenville Catholic Central High School he helped lead the Crusaders to a Division V state championship in football and a Division IV title in baseball. At Ohio University he was part of the school’s first winning season in 15 years when the Bobcats went 8-3 his junior year.
After college Orlando felt his calling in life was to teach and coach. He has toiled as an offensive assistant until the Rockets hired him to replace the legendary Steve Klonne this past winter. The young head coach has a knack of surrounding himself with good people and a McNick program that is on the upswing should be delighted that it is his turn to take things to another level.
We caught up with Orlando to get his thoughts on his new job.
Q: You go into your first season replacing a legend in Steve Klonne who went out in a big way, yet he stays on your staff, one that remains pretty much intact from last season’s Regional Championship run. Why was it important to keep that cohesion and where can we expect Mike Orlando to put his stamp on McNicholas football?
A: When I had the opportunity to retain Coach Klonne, it was the easiest decision I had to make thus far. He brings not only cohesion but a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience. I will look to him for advice I am sure and I feel fortunate to have such a resource in my first year as a head coach. He has been very receptive to the fact that he is no longer in charge, which speaks to the type of person he is. I have learned a great deal from him about humility over these last few years. He is a class act.
As far as putting my stamp on McNick Football...I pride myself on work-ethic and mental toughness. I think if you are willing to outwork the next person you will eventually find success. I hope that our kids will be willing to put forth tremendous effort each time they have the opportunity to make themselves better. Hard work beats talent in my opinion so we have to approach everything we do with that mindset. Hopefully, if we are able and willing to do that, we will find success.
Q: You come from Steubenville, a tradition-rich high school football town. You played at Division V power Steubenville Catholic Central. Have you entertained thoughts of going back home and taking on The Big Red of Steubenville High School who has made 10 straight post-season appearances and won the Division III state title in 2005-06? It would seem to be a natural fit for a non-conference challenge.
A: I am a proud alum of Steubenville Catholic Central, rival of Big Red. But to answer your question about scheduling, if it makes sense for the program then I would have no problem playing Big Red or anyone else for that matter. As it stands right now, we have non-conference opponents scheduled for the next couple of years. If we are fortunate enough to make a run in the playoffs perhaps we will run into Big Red along the way.
Q: McNicholas will play its first full season at their new on campus facility, Penn Station Stadium. Where have you seen this make a difference in the way things are done for the team and football community?
A: The McNick community has been outstanding throughout this entire process of building this on-campus facility. We are all eagerly anticipating the completion of Penn Station Stadium and to have a place to come home to. A ton of work has gone into this project and we are just proud to be a part of school where people care so much about our kids. I promise that this team appreciates all the time and effort that has gone into making this a reality and we will do everything possible to make our fans proud.
Q: Last season’s run to a Regional Championship was a magical one led by a senior class that exuded excellent leadership skills. Sometimes the group that follows a great class ends up making their special mark on a program what do you like about your first group of seniors?
A: Our seniors have been tremendous up to this point. Our focus last year was to establish a foundation for the future of McNick and to begin to change the culture of this program. We were successful last season because we had people that cared for one another and were willing to sacrifice in order for the team to succeed. I fully anticipate for this to be the norm not the exception moving forward. Only time will tell if this equates to more victories but I can assure you that this selfless approach will continue to be the foundation of this program.
Q: Before you even coach your first game you find yourself dealing with a young unproven junior quarterback in Austin Ernst who is faring very well at off-season camps. Having gone through the recruiting process yourself, and then on to play quarterback at Ohio University what advice/guidance will you relay onto Austin with what he is about to encounter?
A: We live/work/play in an immediate world where things seem to get a little too urgent a little too soon, in my opinion. I think the best advice I could give to Austin is to keep things in perspective. Good or bad, we cannot allow our emotions or perceptions to control what we do. Austin is a pretty grounded kid that comes from a great family, and I think he has a good handle on the situation. Austin puts the team first and knows that any personal achievement’s he may receive is a testament to the players around him.
Q: McNicholas is the defending Region 12 Champions but they come into 2011 as a huge underdog to repeat because of the loss of such a great senior class and the regions addition of Alter a team that has won the last six against the Rockets by an average margin of 42-6, why is this squad capable of retaining its title?
A: Every year there will be change, and this year is no different. We have 11 playoff teams from 2010 in our region this year and one of them happens to be one of the best programs, regardless of division, in the state. We have to embrace this fact and welcome the challenges as they come. Winning is never easy and it takes a tremendous amount of hard work, effort and dedication. It is my job to make sure our kids and our coaches realize this and approach each day accordingly. No one is going to hand you anything. You earn everything you get.
Greg is a co-founder of TSF and is now entering his ninth season as a Featured Analyst for the website. The Xavier University grad also serves as the Content Manager for the website and is widely considered one of the top high school football experts in the region. If you are interested in covering your team, please CONTACT US.