MINSTER — Minster again sought out a young, hungry coach to lead its football program.
After a record-setting three-year run under Nate Moore, the Wildcats will turn to Urbana's Geron Stokes to keep a program that has been to the playoffs three straight seasons and became one of the Midwest Athletic Conference's most consistent winners on the rise.
Minster is expected to hire Stokes as its head football coach, pending approval from the school board at its meeting on May 20.
Stokes, 28, is leaving his alma mater to coach at a football program in the Division V and VI football mecca of the Midwest Athletic Conference.
"I wanted the challenge of competing in the best small-school conference probably in the country," Stokes said midday on Monday.
Stokes replaces Moore, who took the job at Cincinnati LaSalle this offseason after three playoff seasons with the Wildcats.
"Minster right now has a culture of success," Stokes said. "I have a lot of respect for what Coach Moore did there. Hopefully we can continue that"
Stokes has been coach at Urbana for four years, where he led the Hillclimbers a 29-13 record, three Central Buckeye Conference titles and two playoff appearances.
Taking over as the head coach at Urbana from Dave Carroll at just the age of 24, Stokes went from 5-5 in his first season and steadily improved the Hillclimbers to 7-3, 8-3 and finally 9-2 in 2012. He was Southwest District Division III Coach of the Year last season as he led Urbana to a second straight playoff appearance. The Hillclimbers fell to Perkins 42-14 in the first round of the Division III playoffs this past fall.
When asked how his style will compare to Moore's when he was at Minster, Stokes said he expects it translate well given the work ethic of the Wildcat players.
"I don't think it will be a big deal," Stokes said. "Football is football. You have to play hard and you have to have a lot of tough guys and that's what we're going to try to establish. In that conference, you'd better have that and that's what we're going to try to do."
Stokes loved what he saw from the community during the interview process.
"They're good people, have a great family environment and a high level of standard there," Stokes said. "I needed a new challenge and I'm looking forward to building great relationships in Minster.
Headlining Minster's returning talent from last year's 9-3 team is future Tennessee Volunteer Ethan Wolf, a big target at tight end. Minster also returns Second Team All-MAC tackle Wes Hegemann and Second Team All-MAC safety Paul Dues.
Stokes will have to find replacements for a talented senior class that included First Team All-Ohio wideout Devon Poeppelman, First Team All-MAC running back Korey Schultz, quarterback Adam Niemeyer and Second Team All-MAC defensive lineman Alan Tebbe.
Stokes played quarterback collegiately at Wittenberg and Urbana.
He will be an intervention specialist in the Minster district.