ECC names Josh Lattimer head football coach
Ellsworth Community College announced today that Joshua Lattimer has been named Head Football Coach; he will also serve as the College’s athletic academic advisor.
“Coach Lattimer has been our Defensive Coordinator and an Admissions recruiter, and he’s helped build the culture of excellence that now exists in our football program,” says Duane Palcic, ECC Interim Director of Athletics. “Coach Lattimer has a real passion for the game of football, and he has a passion for working with young athletes and helping them excel on and off the field. He’s an excellent recruiter with a contagious enthusiasm, and we’re really excited to have him as Head Coach … we know he’ll do a great job for us.”
In addition to being Ellsworth’s Defensive Coordinator for the past year, Lattimer served as head strength and training coach, linebacker coach, and sophomore recruiting coordinator. His coaching team led the Panthers to a Graphic Edge Bowl Championship, defeating #18 Louisburg Community College and landing a #19 NJCAA ranking for the season. This year’s team included two All-Conference linebackers and three All-Conference defensive backs.
“I plan to take the next few months one day at a time, but I want to start by thanking Ellsworth and the Iowa Falls community for their tremendous support,” says Coach Lattimer. “Provost Nancy Muecke, Duane Palcic and the E Club members have been behind the football program all the way. Also, Annie Kalous and Barb Klein in student services, as well as the other ECC coaches, have had my back and enabled this to be an easy transition for me. I especially want to thank my wife and best friend, Nicole, for being my biggest supporter of all. Last year she urged me to make the transition from high school sports to the college level, and she’s one of the main reasons I’m in Iowa Falls.”
Coach Lattimer says his top priorities right now are taking care of the players, recruiting Iowa players for next year, and filling the open football assistant coaching positions.
“I told the players after our workout this morning that I accepted the head coaching position, and I think they were pretty happy about that … even though I’d just put them through a tough workout!” says Lattimer. “We have good kids in this program and I feel like I have a great rapport with them. They’ve helped me this season, and I reminded them that what we have here at Ellsworth is special. This college has won two national championships, and not every college can say that. We ended this season ranked #19 in the nation, and another national championship is one of our goals. We plan to get better and aim higher.”
Even though he’s in the off-season, Coach Lattimer says he’s still holding player workouts, with weight training three days a week and early morning runs at 6 a.m. “I’m finding out right now who wants to be here next year,” he says, with a smile. “Spring is also the time for players to focus on their academics and get their grades on track, especially if they want to be eligible to transfer to a four-year college.”
Coach Lattimer said he’s also focused on recruiting Iowa football players, which will help him fill out a complete roster and will bring more families and fans to the games.
“I’ve put out-of-state recruiting on hold for now, and I’m focused 100% on recruiting Iowa players. This year, because we didn’t have a full roster, we were about 20 players short at every game, and that hurts. There are great players in this state, and we can provide a great football experience for them here at ECC. I’m focused on finding great players who are also great young men.”
With several assistant coaching positions open, Coach Lattimer has also begun having conversations with prospective assistants. “There are good coaches out there who want to work at Ellsworth,” says Lattimer.
SUCCESS STORY SIDEBAR: Irving Steele
If you ask Coach Josh Lattimer for a success story from this year’s season, he talks immediately about Irving Steele, a freshman linebacker from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“When I got here last year, as a new assistant coach, the first player people talked to me about was Irving Steele … and it wasn’t good. Some thought he should be cut from the team and sent home. Coach O.J. Payne, who’s also our Director of Residence Life and Housing, was ready to kick him out of the dorm. In my first meeting with this young man I had to have a tough conversation and put some ultimatums on the table: he had to change his attitude and his behaviors immediately, and clean up his act.
“I am so proud of what this young man has accomplished this year. He’s gone from being a problem player to being a leader on this team. And he’s gone from being on Coach Payne’s watch list to being invited to be a Resident Assistant in Thompson Hall.
“We are changing people and changing lives at Ellsworth Community College and in this football program, and I’m very proud of that. My greatest reward is seeing students like Irving Steele change and become successful. That’s what it’s all about!”