SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor
If you attend any Van Wert High School football, basketball or baseball games you’ll see Brock Blythe there, without fail.
That’s because in addition to being perhaps the top fan of Cougar athletics, the 18-year-old senior is also Director of Football, Basketball and Baseball Operations. It’s a role he embraces, and a responsibility he takes very seriously.
“My duties with the football program start in the summer for me,” Blythe said. “I start in June with the football workouts and I think it’s important to be there for my team because they consider me part of the team.”
“In the summer during camp days I am in charge of getting the equipment out and for me that job started for me at 6 a.m. I also film during camp days as they try to get better everyday. I film every practice and game and this year I was lucky enough to work with the end zone camera.”
His work with the football program has earned high praise from head coach Keith Recker.
“Brock allows us to run practice similar to a small college,” Recker stated. “He has the field set up with yard markers and pylons every day, and he sets up the coach’s stations with bags, shields, cones, footballs and anything else the coach requests for his individual drills. He then films group and team sessions of practice so we can review every practice to make corrections.”
“He is as valuable as any member of our team from top to bottom,” Recker added.
Blythe gave credit to basketball coach Mark Bagley and said if it wasn’t for him, he may not have been Director of Football, Basketball and Baseball Operations.
“I have known coach Bagley since he was my principal in fifth grade and my sixth grade year I was a ball boy and then my seventh grade year was my off year from the program,” Blythe explained. “My eight grade year, he asked me to be the cameraman for the team and I enjoyed it. My freshman year he approached me one October morning about becoming the Director of Basketball Operations.”
“When I first started basketball I thought my favorite part would be to get to see a free game every weekend, but since then my favorite part has been to have great friends on the teams that I’ve been a part of such as Jacoby Kelly, Nate Place, Drew Bagley, Thane Cowan, Blake Henry and Holden Willingham,” Blythe said.
Blythe is in the weight room with the basketball team, and when it comes to scouting and studying for an upcoming opponent, he is just as prepared as any player or coach.
“There’s not one person who knows the scouting report better than Brock,” head basketball coach Mark Bagley said. “He watches film, so when we do our scouting reports for games, he knows the personnel, he knows the tendencies, he knows the other team’s offense and defense, he knows it all.”
“There are times he’ll get on our players for not knowing, for not doing their assignment, because he knows what’s going on.”
During halftime of some games, Blythe appears as a guest of Scott Alan and Ron Burt on radio station WERT.
When basketball season is complete, Blythe switches his attention to the diamond and is a key component of the Van Wert High School baseball team and head coach Charlie Witten.
When he was a very young child, Blythe was diagnosed with a condition that affects everything in his body. He didn’t move or talk during his preschool years, and he said to this day he struggles with circulation in all of his fingers. Undeterred, he played flag football for a time, then played Upward Basketball at the Trinity Friends Church and at the YMCA. He hoped to continue his athletic career at the junior high level, but learned (like many of us did, including this writer), that not everyone is athletically gifted.
“My seventh grade year I went to a open gym for basketball, and I realized that I wasn’t fast enough for the game that I’m very passionate about.” I also played baseball until pony league because I realized that I wasn’t a very good baseball player.”
Blythe is weighing his college options and said he’s down to Bluffton University and the University of Northwest Ohio (UNOH), with a goal is to remain involved in sports at some level.
“If I decide to go to Bluffton, I might have a chance to be their manager for the football program, as I will be meeting with coach (Denny) Dorrel, which would give me the opportunity to ask to have a similar role with the basketball program,” Blythe explained. “The coolest thing about that is to be a manager at the next level.
“If I were to choose UNOH, I would not be a manager at the next level, and instead I will be doing some local internships with some sports radio shows.”
While reflecting on the unique opportunity he’s had the high school level, Blythe paid tribute to his close knit family.
“I wouldn’t be a manager without the support of my loving parents and family members,” Blythe said. “Parents Greg and Heather Blythe, grandparents Dale and Linda Boroff, and Sharon Blythe, and my proud heavenly grandfather Gary “Butch” Blythe. I would also thank my aunts and cousin’s aunts: Dawn Blythe and Amy Enoch Cousins, and Kelby and KeAndre Blythe.”