Conley leaves coaching job at Ohio Dominican

Bill Conley
Bill Conley

(Posted Jan. 14, 2016)

Ohio Dominican University announced on Jan. 8 that head football coach Bill Conley, who got his start in coaching at London High School, will be leaving the program. The university has launched a national search to find a new coach. Defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Kelly Cummings will take over as the Panthers’ interim head coach.

“We are deeply indebted to Bill for his leadership in guiding Ohio Dominican’s football program during its entry into NCAA Division II and the GLIAC,” Athletic Director Jeff Blair said. “Bill helped quickly build the football program into a national contender at the Division II level. He and his staff helped develop quality student-athletes in the classroom and in the community. Unfortunately, we were not able to reach terms on a new contract. Bill did an outstanding job for us throughout his tenure, and we wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”

Conley compiled a 46-21 (.687) record in his six seasons direct-ing Ohio Dominican, winning seven or more games in each of the last five years. Over the past four seasons, the Panthers have won 80 percent of their games.

The 2013 GLIAC Coach of the Year, Conley guided the Panthers to a 10-1 record, the GLIAC championship and a spot in the NCAA Division II playoffs that season. Conley was also named the AFCA Regional Coach of the Year and was a finalist for several national coach of the year awards. An impressive 20 players earned All-GLIAC recognition at the end of the season.

In 2014, he helped lead the Panthers to a second straight NCAA Division II playoff appearance, reaching the regional finals. ODU finished the season with an 11-2 record and was ranked among the nation’s best in numerous statistical categories. Quarterback Mark Miller was recognized as a Harlon Hill Trophy finalist, and ODU led the GLIAC with 17 all-conference performers. In 2015, kicker Brent Wahle broke the GLIAC record for all-time field goals made. Wahle earned a total of 20 All-American awards in his career.

During Conley’s tenure, the Panthers were ranked as high as No. 4 in the country at the end of the 2014 season. They also won 21 consecutive regular season games from 2012 to 2014, at one point owning the longest active win streak in NCAA Division II football.

Conley began his football coaching career in 1972 at London High School as an assistant coach under Ohio Football Hall of Fame Head Coach Jim Bowlus. He became head coach two years later when Bowlus retired and in 1975 led London to a 10-0 season and No. 2 ranking in Ohio. He was inducted into the London High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011.

After then serving as a head coach at Groveport, Middletown and Dublin Coff-man high schools, Conley moved on to the collegiate scene. Starting in 1984, he served as an assistant coach for Ohio State University head football coaches Earle Bruce, John Cooper and Jim Tressel. During his 17 years as an assistant coach for the Buckeyes, Conley was consistently recognized as one of America’s top recruiters. His recruiting classes were constantly ranked among the top 10 in the nation. He was selected by The Sporting News as one of the top five college football recruiters in the country and was honored by ESPN as the No. 1 football recruiting coordinator in all of college football.

Prior to arriving at ODU, Conley served as a national recruiting analyst at ESPN for Columbus-area print and broadcast media. His book, Buckeye Bumper Crops, chronicles his experiences as a student-athlete, assistant coach and recruiter for OSU, and mentions his coaching roots in London.

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