Bowling Green didn't have to go far to find its new head football coach.
The school announced Thursday the hiring of Mark Spader as the Purples' new coach. Spader, who served as Bowling Green's defensive coordinator from 2013-17, has also been the school's Athletic Director.
"I prayed in my heart that this day would come," Spader said. "I think the big plus for me will be already knowing the players. The staff's in place that I'm really close with, and we have a great deal of respect for one another. The biggest transition for me will be having the role of head coach now.
"You have to be on top of things and make the hard decisions."
Spader has been coaching high school football since 1991 with stops at Bowling Green, Warren East and Warren Central. He returned to BGHS in 2004 and has been there since.
"I think it does help. I mean, I layed that out before the committee," Spader said of being at Bowling Green so long. "I was a young, dumb coach (then), but I think that helps that I go back to the foundations that coach (Kevin) Wallace continued to build on -- and I will, as well.
"I think that was a plus, definitely."
During his time as the Purples' defensive coordinator, the program won Class 5A state championships in both 2013 and 2015. For building a dominant defensive unit, Spader was named in 2016 a finalist for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association's assistant football coach of the year award.
Spader replaces longtime Bowling Green coach Kevin Wallace, who left the program last month for the head coaching job at St. Xavier High School.
The Purples went 10-3 overall in 2017 and fell 28-21 to South Warren in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A Russell Athletic/KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl.
"I called him today and thanked him once again," Spader said of Wallace's influence. "He included me on a lot of things -- and he didn't have to. I appreciate him for putting me in that position."–Senior writer Tyler Mansfield can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @TMansfieldST.–