STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) – John Bayuk has waited to become a head football coach for a long time. Two months ago, that wait ended when he became the new head coach at Struthers. But, thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak, it has been a rollercoaster ride for Bayuk and the Wildcats.
“Not at all man, it is definitely different,” Bayuk said in a FaceTime interview. “Right when the transition when I got hired, we had 50-60 kids in the weight room three days a week and we really had a good thing rolling. Like we said, at the drop of a dime, screeching halt and we had to tell the kids to stay home.”
But Bayuk is no stranger to the program, a member of the Struthers staff for the last seven years including the last three as defensive coordinator. He says he has leaned on a strong senior class to help lead from home while apart.
“They have been the key to the communication with those 50 kids who have been in the weight room,” Bayuk said. “We are all in a big group chat and we make sure by position they talk to their guys. They definitely have a bigger role, they have a huge role when we are there and now that we aren’t, that role has increased and their responsibility and increased”
“We are having a FaceTime workout this afternoon,” said rising senior lineman Zach Feletti. “It was the seniors’ duty to get the word out and I think we are doing a good job of that. We are just trying to do every little thing we can, talk to the younger guys and get them mentally prepared for everything that is about to come.”
Feletti tells Sports Team 27 he even sends pictures of his food to teammates, trying to encourage them to stay away from junk food. He thinks the time apart will bring the Wildcats closer together.
“Very excited,” Feletti said. “You know, I think this separation, it is clearly bad but I think once we can come together it is going to make us work even harder than before. So I think it can work out in the end.”