John Rodenberg Takes Over As Lawrence Central Head Football Coach
Writer: Seth Johnson
Photographer: Ron Wise
For decades, John Rodenberg has equipped young men for life after high school through his work on the football field. Now as the new varsity football coach at Lawrence Central High School, his plan is to do more of the same.
“I’m a teacher whose classroom is on the football field,” Rodenberg says. “I don’t see myself as being anything different than a biology teacher, a physics teacher, an English teacher or a math teacher. I’m the football teacher. I’ve got a passion for kids, and I’ve got a passion to teach my discipline, which happens to be football.”
Having been on the high school football sidelines since 1988, Rodenberg was formerly a head coach at Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati from 2008 to 2017. While at Moeller, he led his team to back-to-back Division I state championships in 2012 and 2013. Before his time there, Rodenberg also served as a head football coach at Roger Bacon High School (Cincinnati), Covington Catholic High School (Park Hills, Ky.) and Archbishop McNicholas High School (Cincinnati). While at Covington Catholic, he led his team to a KSHAA 3A State Championship in 2006.
“He is a three-time state champion, and his relationships with college programs are extensive,” says Lawrence Central athletic director Ryan Banas. “Coach Rodenberg will honor our district values of Achievement, Integrity and Service, will operate with great integrity and will be a role model for our student-athletes.”
In order for Rodenberg to leave his head-coaching job in Cincinnati, the opportunity had to be just right.
“When I decided to step down at Moeller, I wasn’t going to go be another head coach unless it was at another very highly competitive situation,” he says.
After doing some research, though, he quickly learned that this head-coaching job with the Lawrence Central football program was just what he was looking for.
“I’d read enough about their conference, and then I started doing some research on Lawrence Central,” Rodenberg says. “I started talking to college coaches, and basically, the word I got was it was a sleeping giant just ready to explode. They have a good foundation of winning, and the last coach had continued that foundation. I wasn’t coming into a program that was broken. I was just coming into a program and had to take it to the next level.”
In order to take Lawrence Central football to the next level, Rodenberg is setting his expectations high. “The goals that I’m always going to put in front of our players are, ‘Let’s win the conference, and then let’s win state,’” he says. “We can sit here and say we don’t want to create high goals. But if we don’t create high goals, then we’re never going to attain high goals.”
By setting these standards, his hope is to stay up to par with all the other expectations that are set for students at Lawrence Central High School.
“From reading a book and taking a math class to being on the football field, it’s all setting us up to be successful in life, and I just want to add to that,” Rodenberg says. “I don’t want to be this rogue program. I want to be part of a Lawrence Central that develops these guys to go out and become great men.”
In the meantime, Coach Rodenberg and the Lawrence Central football team will stay busy preparing for their start to the season later this year on August 18.