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by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
He is the Tallmadge football team's third head coach in as many years.
But don't expect Alan Vanderink to pack his bags any time soon.
"I firmly believe that you don't leave a place like Tallmadge," he said. "I wanted to be a head coach and I am grateful and blessed to have this opportunity. I want to move my family here and be here as long as I can be."
Tallmadge, a perennial area power for much of the 21st century, stumbled to a 2-8 mark last fall under head coach Scott Pollock, who resigned after spending just one season with the Blue Devils.
Tallmadge, which had reached the playoffs nine times in 11 years prior to last year, also finished 1-5 in its first year of the Suburban League American Conference.
Copley and Aurora shared the American Conference title in 2015.
Vanderink, a Crestwood graduate, was a running back and free safety for the Red Devils.
He also was a wide receiver, kick returner and punt returner at Kent State University.
Prior to joining Tallmadge, Vanderink, a Garrettsville resident, was a head coach at Burton Berkshire and an assistant coach at Crestwood.
He has a little bit of familiarity with the Blue Devils after spending last the two years as Copley's offensive passing game coordinator, special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach.
Vanderink, who will teach physical education at Tallmadge High School, knows an American Conference title might be out of reach this fall.
But the coach is excited about his new team.
"The kids are working hard," Vanderink said. "They're buying into what we're trying to build here.
"We have a young group and every day is a learning process. But the kids want to learn and they want to be successful."
Vanderink doesn't plan to have any superstars with gaudy stats. And that's just the way he likes it.
"Our slogan is 'Together We,'" Vanderink said. "We want to build team people first. If my guys come back after they graduate only better football players, that means we failed.
"We want them to be better husbands, fathers, students and citizens.
"It's about doing the right things all the time and put team ahead of themselves."
With the success Tallmadge has had over the years, Vanderink knows he has a difficult task in front of him.
It is especially difficult since the American Conference appears to be loaded.
"With any job you get in the Suburban League, there is going to be pressure," Vanderink said. "Football has been very good at most of the schools. The passion for football in most of the communities is very high."
Regardless of the pressure, Vanderink believes he is in a good place.
"There is great support here from the families, community and the administration," he said.