Four months ago, it looked like the Penns Valley football program was reshuffling the deck.
After two decades as the Rams’ head coach, it was announced on Nov. 24 that Martin Tobias was no longer the program’s leader. Penns Valley athletic director Nate Althouse cited lack of competitiveness as one of the motivating factors behind the switch in leadership.
But Althouse did leave the door open for Tobias’ return, saying at the time the coach would be given “strong consideration” if he wanted to interview for the job.
After nationwide interest and a lengthy interview process, Tobias is back.
Approved at a school board meeting on March 16 and confirmed by Althouse to the Centre Daily Times, Tobias will be the Penns Valley football coach this fall.
Althouse said the open position received a lot of interest early on, with coaches from Hawaii, Arizona, New York, Louisiana, Texas and North Carolina inquiring about the job.
Ultimately, the athletic director said four candidates were interviewed — and Tobias emerged.
“We got interest from a lot of different coaches from across the country in fact, and we brought in and interviewed the people we could,” Althouse said. “At the end of the day, we, the committee, sat down and we felt that Marty was the best candidate moving forward.”
Tobias said the past few months have been productive for him, giving him the chance to contemplate his career so far.
Since returning to the team, with the Rams’ weight training underway, Tobias feels like there’s a “rejuvenation” and “excitement” in the air.
“I think the quality of people we have on staff and the support we’re receiving from the administration is giving us what we need to keep moving forward,” the coach said.
When asked if it would be awkward for Tobias to return to a position he was just recently removed from, Althouse said the coach wasn’t “relieved” of his duties.
“All of our positions at the end of the year, they’re all one-year positions, so technically they’re all open,” Althouse explained. “We were doing a thorough sweep of the whole football program, which includes leadership.
“It hasn’t been easy on anybody. This has not been a fun process. But we felt it was necessary to take a step back, and what we’re doing is putting our kids in the best position to be successful on the football field.”
Dating back to 2006, Tobias’ record is 33-69 with just two winning seasons. The Rams’ Mountain League mark under Tobias the past three years is 6-15.
Penns Valley is coming off a 2-8 overall finish — and 2-5 in conference — last season.
That in mind, Tobias understands it’s necessary for the Rams to win more games in the near future.
“That comes through a joint venture with all parties buying in and selling out that we’re going to put together the best team that we can put together,” Tobias said.
Althouse thinks that can happen and is sure that Tobias grasps the task ahead.
“I think Marty understands that there’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” Althouse said. “He knows it’s a monumental task to grow and build as a coach and get these kids ready to hit the pads next August.”