By: John Raffel
Slate is Sacred Heart's new football coach
It's Jamie Slate's football team now at Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart. The Fighting Irish assistant has taken over for the retired Rick Roberts.
At the end of last season, Roberts decided to step down as Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart football coach after 23 years. He also had a 40-year career in high school football coaching overall.
Sacred Heart finished Roberts’ final season at 6-4.
The Irish won the state title in 2010 with a 13-1 record. The Irish have qualified for the playoffs 19 of Roberts' 23 seasons. They also won 18 Mid-State Activities Conference titles.
Roberts reached his 200th career win this season.
Enter Jamie Slate, who had coached with Roberts since 2010 when the Irish were state champions. Slate started out as a linebacker coach and in most recent seasons was the defensive coordinator. He was hired in late December. It's his first head coaching job. After graduating from Hemlock High School, he started coaching there. He was there three years, then went to Sacred Heart.
“I teach here at Sacred Heart and have become a part of the community,” Slate said. “It's definitely my home now. When Rick spoke to me about the possibility of leaving and retiring, I had given him notice that I was interested in the job. It's always been a lifelong goal to be a head coach. I didn't anticipate it coming this soon. I feel like I'm ready and Rick felt I was ready too. We went forward with it.”
There was a lot of work for Slate after he got the job to prepare for this season.
“We lost a lot of seniors last year,” Slate said. “We're only returning five seniors. Of those five, only four were starters. We're going to be fairly young.”
The returnees are Ryan Ervin, a senior offensive lineman defensive end; Christian Maloney, a senior offensive lineman and defensive tackle; Abe Hollenbeck a senior running back and center and Joe Ervin, a senior offensive lineman and defensive tackle.
The Irish enter the season with a 15-man roster.
Slate said the style of play he'll bring to the team will show some differences.
“Ever since I've been here, we've kind of had a backbone based on the T offense,” Slate said. “We've also mixed in some spread with that. With me taking over, and I've looked at the type of kids we have coming up to the program, the T offense doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I'm getting away from the T and focusing more on the spread part of the game.”