CASSTOWN — For 24 years, Max Current has been the face of the football program at Miami East.
And that will all change next August.
For the first time in 51 years, Current won’t have a football practice to be at after deciding to retire at the end of this school year.
“Since the fourth grade, I have had a football season every year,” Current said. “There wasn’t any one thing that made me decide. I will be 60 years old soon and I have never really ever taken a vacation. There are some things in this world I would like to see.”
After earning All-Ohio honors at Miami East, he went on to play for West Virginia Wesleyan College.
After one year of student coaching at WVWC, Current returned to the area.
And football has continued in his blood ever since.
In 1986, he was the freshman football coach at Vandalia-Butler.
It was also the same time he married his wife Susan.
“I remember,” he said. “I got married on a Saturday and started coaching the next Monday,” Current said. “Our honeymoon was in Piqua.”
After a year as Wittenberg defensive line coach, he became the freshman coach at Greenville in 1988 and was on the defensive staff when the Wave earned their first-ever playoff appearance.
While Current would return to Miami East in 1999, that was actually the third time he was hired asa Miami East coach.
“I got the job in 1989, but it was late when I got the job and Greenville would not let me out of the contract,” Current said.
It was a similar situation in 1998.
“I was interviewing for another head coaching job,” Current said. “And I started hearing talk about Miami East shutting down the program. They were going through some tough times.”
At one point, Miami East told him they wanted him to come and coach in 1999.
“I said what happens if the guy coaching now has a great year?,” Current said. “And they told me, he is coaching with the understanding you are going to be the coach next year. Looking lack back, it is probably good I didn’t get the job in 1989. I didn’t have the experience. After coaching in the GMVC and going against that competition (he was ready).
It wasn’t an instant success.
“I think the first seven years, we had one winning season,” Current said. “But, I never really thought about it (how long he would be there). I was a phys ed (physical education major). Those jobs weren’t easy to get. So once you had one, you didn’t give it up unless you had another one.”
When Current thinks about his coaching career at East, the 2007 team stands out to him.
That was the first Viking team to ever make the playoffs.
“When you see the progress the kids make, when you see that light come on and they start doing everything you are coaching them to do, that means a lot.”
East was 4-2 that year after a loss to Covington and Current could see the kids were still letting it affect them the next week.
“That is the first time I ever talked about the playoffs,” Current said. “I told them, don’t let Covington cost you two games. We had a tough game with Twin Valley South coming up. I told them Tri-County North is 5-1 and they are in our region. We are 4-2 and this where we are at. They went out and just waylaid Twin Valley South and didn’t lose another game in the regular season.”
Current said everything changed at that point.
“They came into practice and worked, the way they prepared,” he said. “As the season went on, people would come up to the kids in the hallway and tell them, ‘You have a chance to make the playoffs.’ There response was always, ‘No, we don’t have a chance, we are making the playoffs.
“Of course, we ended up having to play Marion Local in the playoffs, but that momentum carried over to 2008 when we made the playoffs. That was kind of our run — from then to 2019. We had a winning season every year and made the playoffs 10 times.”
The Vikings only playoff win came in 2013.
“We played Tri-County North during the season and beat them 17-14 in overtime,” Current said. “We had to play them again in the playoffs and I thought man, this is really going to be a tough game. We went out in that playoff game and just did everything we wanted to do. We ended up winning 10 games that year. We didn’t win the league, because that was during the Ouellette (A.J. Ouellette) years at Covington. But, we did win 10 games that year.”
East won three CCC titles during Current’s coaching career and he was CCC Coach of the Year twice.
He was also Southwest District Co-Coach of the year twice.
He is the all-time winningest coach of the year with a record of 131-117.
“I am also the all-time losingest,” Current said with a laugh. “When you are there 24 years and the previous longest coach had been there was 10 years.”
And for all the success on the field, it is just as gratifying when Current sees the success his former players become and receives Christmas cards from them.
“There are quite a few that are doctors,” Current said. “This past year, there were three former players of mine on staffs of teams we played. That was kind of neat.”
And his message at the recent awards banquet was pretty simple to his players.
“I played with your grandparents and I coached your dads,” Current said. “You might not understand all the messages I was trying to give you right now, but hopefully you will one day.”
Max and Susan also raised three outstanding children.
Jake Current was a standout offensive lineman for Troy who went on to play for Wisconsin.
His daughters were standout athletes at Miami East and Trina and Ashley were part of two state championship teams in volleyball.
“Between football and all my children’s activities, we never really have taken any vacations,” Current said. “We are expecting our first grandchild in January, so I have that to look forward to. I really don’t have a plan (for the future), but I have seven or eight months to figure it out.
“If I don’t, that is okay. I am sure next year will be different. I have had a football practice to go to for 51 years. I really don’t know what to expect.”
But, one thing is sure.
After having such a positive on so many people in his life, he has earned the right to take his next step in life and will enjoy it.
Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at [email protected]