Carlin Carpenter says that when he was growing up in Nelsonville, Ohio, he wanted to become the best squirrel hunter in Athens County.
Somewhere along the way he became a football coach and Bluffton is a much more interesting place to live because of his change in career choices.
The retired Bluffton University football coach decided to write his memoirs this spring, and by the end of this month, when the book arrives from the printer, you will each have a merry Christmas and a happier New Year simply because once you start reading his coaching drama, you simply can’t put it down.
(I know; I read the draft this summer.)
The book title “Coaching Football Ain’t Easy,” is subtitle “My Triumphs and Tribulations at Bluffton College.” One tribulation that morphed into a triumph is represented in the book’s cover photograph. There, Carpenter is lying on the football field, refusing to stand up, while a football referee threatens to boot him from the game.
You see, the ref mistakenly gave Bluffton’s opponent an extra down. Carpenter caught the error and refused to get up until the ref checked with the press box. Buy the book and find out if he was ejected or won the argument.
But don’t think that’s the best story in the book or the worst of Carpenter’s coaching woes. The book is stacked with stories just like that one.
Carpenter started his career on the 100-yard field as a Greyhound (Nelsonville HS), became a Seahawk (Navy-based football team in Japan), a Yellow Jacket (Defiance College), Bobcat coach (Ohio University), Thundering Herd coach (Marshall) in his red-shirted career before becoming the head Beaver at Bluffton.
And he tells us all about it, in 186 pages. In the back of the book he lists alphabetically, all the players, coaches and support personnel involved in Bluffton’s football program during his coaching tenure.
That tenure ran from 1979 to 2002 seasons. He is Bluffton’s first-ever football coach to experience 100 wins, the only coach to play at both Harmon Field and at Saltzman, and is the only coach we know who chose to recruit potential players rather than go home when his Kibler Street house was on fire.
When confronted by his wife, Sharon, about his decision to stay on campus during the blaze, he writes that he told her that he really didn’t know anything about fighting fires, but did know something about recruiting football players. So, he remained on campus.
Linda Suter authored the book’s foreword. Tami Forbes, Jim “Spike” Berry and Perry Bush added endorsements on the back cover.
The book is published through Wordplay Publishing of Bluffton. Copies of the book will be available for $13.95. Copies will be available at the Bluffton University bookstore, from the author and in some downtown businesses.
A book signing will take place once the book is released, which is anticipated by the end of December or early January.