GREENVILLE – Arcanum graduate Ty Cates, Arcanum Sports Hall of Fame member, is stepping down as Covington’s head football coach to take charge of a struggling Vandalia-Butler program.
Cates was an outstanding running back and linebacker for Arcanum coach Jason Schondelmyer as well as being named All-Conference, Daily Advocate Athlete of the year and All-Conference back of the year.
Versailles was Cates’ first stop on his list of coaching positions assisting his high school coach where he helped with the freshman squad a season.
Cates spent the next two years at Arcanum working with the high school team while helping out in the first season of high school.
“I kind of had to duplicate it,” Cates noted. “I had a guy who had a health issue, so they asked me to replace him for a little while – so I got a taste of junior high.”
“I’ve been an assistant in a lot of places,” Cates continued. “When Aaron Shaffer got the job in Greenville, I was his assistant.”
At the age of 24, Cates was appointed OHSAA DVII Twin Valley South Coach; his first job as a head coach in high school.
“I was teaching in the South building and I think that was a big part of it,” said Cates, “so I left Greenville, but loved coaching with Coach Shaffer”
“In South, I called the offense, coached the offensive line and helped the linebackers,” Cates continued. “We were lucky to have a great group of kids and we really helped change the culture there. I will always appreciate South for giving my first job as head coach.
After three years in South and having beaten Covington several times; the buccaneers came to call.
“We upset Covington a few times and it helped me get the Covington job,” Cates said. “What a place to train. “
“Covington was amazing,” Cates said of the OHSAA D-VI program. “The kids are winners there for a reason and I walked into a gold mine right away. We went 11-1 and lost to Fort Recovery (state champions), but great kids who just stole. I also coached a lot of positions there and I coached some great people. “
Coach Cates now has the task of bringing the D-III Butler Aviators back to a winning schedule playing in the always tough Miami Valley League (MVL) with Greenville, Piqua, Troy, Sidney, Xenia, Tippecanoe, Fairborn, West Carrollton and Stebbins .
“Vandalia-Butler’s job has been opened and one of my assistants is from there, their facilities are phenomenal, my oldest daughter goes to school there, so that’s a big reason why I ‘ve researched this job, “Cates noted. “I am delighted that I can hopefully reverse this program.”
The Butler Aviatiors football program has just suffered 2-8 consecutive losing seasons leading up to the 2021 college football year.
“We helped turn around South and then between South and Covington, we just kept the standard and had some good descents,” Cates said. “I went to the regional finals and did some great things and I hope Butler’s schedule has changed. They have struggled the last few years so they hope it goes in the right direction. “
Coach Cates is up for the challenge of the 2021 season as he moves from Cross County Conference (CCC) to MVL.
“I consider him overall positive because they don’t know me, I don’t know them,” Cates said of his move. “It’s a fresh start – the downside is that I don’t know these other teams well enough but I have retained a few assistants who do. It’s always great to make a fresh start.
“It’s a tough league, I know that. We’re playing Northmont the first week so a really tough test, a much bigger school but excited to play these teams, excited by the bigger competition. We have large numbers.
“I know most of the coaches in the Miami Valley League through different things, coaching in all-star games, coaching in Greenville, Bart (Schmitz) and I were assistants together in Greenville,” added Cates. “I know all the coaches in the league pretty well, except for Coach Stebbins.”
Coach Cates took a moment to reflect on a memorable 30-24 playoff win over Arcanum as he coached his final season at Covington.
For most of the four quarters, Arcanum had full control against the Buccs in the D-VI playoffs at Smith Field in Covington, but the Buccs managed to organize two goals in the last four minutes and finish. the match with 23 unanswered points escape with a victory.
“The first time I coached against Arcanum it killed me,” Cates said. “I wasn’t a very good coach when I was at Twin Valley South for the first time against my hometown. I always feel bad for these kids because I was too emotionally invested, I wasn’t thinking the right way.
“We were lucky to win the next seven times, but the first time I lost to them, this game is always difficult for me. It got easier, but it was always an emotion, especially playing there when I was in that locker room, I gave a lot to this program, it’s difficult.
“This last game was crazy. We had no reason to win this game and things just bounced back. We were lucky but our kids fought to the end at Covington and the Covington kids never gave up and they expected to win. It was one of those nights, it was a horrible first half, but what a great feeling it was like being shocked – did we really just win this game.
“We were so depressed that I didn’t really get caught up in the ‘they are from Arcane’ – we just wanted to come back and win this game, but the first time around I was absolutely not a very good head coach. Cates added. “This first time as a coach against Arcanum – it was very difficult for me because I grew up there and I really wanted to beat them because I wanted this job; I didn’t get it and there were a lot of mixed emotions, but it got easier, but it’s still difficult.
“It’s growing in me,” Coach Cates concluded, speaking of Butler’s “purple and gold” school colors. “Go on butler.”
Butler’s head coach Ty Cates helps teach at Matt Light All-Conference football camp.
Ty Cates helps teach blocking to a young camper.
Arcanum graduate and new Butler football coach Ty Cates teaches blocking at Matt Light All-Conference football camp.
Ty Cates hands over to a young camper at the recent All-Conference camp in Greenville.
Airman trainer Ty Cates teaches a young camper the art of quarterback.
Vandalia-Butler, Head College Football Coach Ty Cates demonstrates to campers at Matt Light All-Conference Football Camp.
Covington coach Ty Cates has a word with officials during the 2020 game with Arcanum.
Former Arcanum and new Vandalia-Butler Aviators college football coach Ty Cates
Contact Darke County Media’s Sports Editor, Gaylen Blosser, at [email protected] or 937-569-0122.