When Ryan Turley was 7 years old, he spent his autumns at the Brickie Bowl. His two older brothers played football for legendary Hobart coach Don Howell.
"It was my life," said Turley, who was named the newest Brickies football coach at Thursday night's school board meeting.
Turley won his own state championship in 1989 and was on the Brickies' state runner-up team the following season.
Turley will replace Wally McCormack, who resigned from the position in January. The Brickies were 56-37 in eight years under the 1987 Portage graduate. McCormack was 70-38 in nine years as a head coach.
"It means an awful lot, it's an honor," Turley said. "I understand the expectations of this town. I grew up around it. I've always been around it. I understand the expectations and wouldn't want it any other way."
Turley played football at Indianapolis and Butler before returning home. He coached with Bob Schellinger at LaPorte. He then started the Wheeler program with Chip Pettit and when Pettit returned to his alma mater at Crown Point, Turley followed along.
He was C.P.'s strength and conditioning coordinator while the Bulldogs were turning their program around. Turley returned to Hobart this school year as a teacher and assistant coach.
Turley has been running the Hobart conditioning since McCormack resigned.
"He went to school here, raised here, and he's very well prepared," Hobart athletic director Bob Glover said. "He's done some great things at other places. All his life he wanted to get back to Hobart.
"We wanted a person who bled purple and gold."
The Brickies played in five sectional championship games under McCormack and won three conference titles. But Hobart, which has won 19 sectional titles in school history, has not advanced to a regional since 1997.
Hobart has played in a second-best 11 state championship games with the Brickies winning four state titles, the last in 1993.
"Football is important to the people here," Turley said. "Our goal is to compete. Our kids are ready. They're hungry. They are not happy with the way the last two seasons have gone.
"Our goal is to play for titles."