Club football: New coach looks to take team to the next level

Greg Felder, Sports Writer

Jeff Knittle is entering his first year as head coach of the 2014 Wright State club football team along with a brand new coaching staff. Although it is a club team, winning is still his main priority and the squad has been training since July getting ready for the season.

Knittle replaced Anthony Van Horn who left the program following the 2013 season.

Knittle said he wants to take the program to the next level He said that he does not want people to dismiss them as “just a club team” but as a respected sports program on campus.

‘Demand Respect’ is Knittle’s motto for the 2014 team.

Knittle is from St. Mary’s, Ohio where he graduated high school in 2004.  He is bringing six years of coaching experience as well as a contagious enthusiasm for football to the program.

He has brought in 25 new recruits making this the largest recruiting class in the program’s seven-year history.

“My goal is for the program to continue to grow” he said.

He also currently holds 15 verbal commits from high school seniors looking to join the program next year. Without playing a game, Knittle has had a great start through recruiting and getting the team fired up for the season.

The team currently has a 32-man roster looking to improve on a 4-6 record from last year.  Last season’s team had a bright start beginning the season 3-0. Knittle said one of his main goals is to create an attitude change within the football program.

He wants the team to take on more of a ‘nasty’ attitude and bring an edge to the team. Knittle said he only wants winning attitudes from his players.

“I don’t want anyone to be satisfied with .500,” he said.

With 25 new players, gaining team chemistry will be key in the first few games.

The Raider football team opens up the season on Sept. 8, at Wilmington College. The Quakers are in NCAA Division III and will be a tough test for the team.

Wright State’s road trip continues Sept. 13 at Southern Illinois University. This will be their opportunity to set the tone in the Raiders’ first conference game.

Knittle and the team are hosting the Ohio Sate University in their homecoming game on Oct. 4.  This game is circled on their schedule, not only because it is homecoming, but the Buckeyes are the reigning conference champs and have five NCAF All-Americans.

Wright State’s first home game Sept. 27 at 11 a.m. against Robert Morris.

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