Brian Glesing does not fear the challenge that is Shelbyville football.
The Golden Bears have won one game over the last three seasons and currently ride a 25-game losing streak.
Head coach Michael Clevenger stepped aside in the fall and Glesing, who has a track record of rebuilding football programs, was named the new head coach.
For the program to compete once again in the Hoosier Heritage Conference and the Class 4A postseason, more athletes need to be committed to the sport.
“We need to be real simple and get the kids enjoying the game,” said Glesing via phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “Numbers are down. I know it’s not the cool thing in school to be a football player right now.”
Friday nights are supposed to be fun. Instead, the Golden Bears scored just 51 points last season while allowing 527.
In 2019, it was worse. The offense managed just 21 points in 10 games while allowing 589. The program surrendered a record 85 points in a shutout loss to Delta on Sept. 6, 2019.
The last win under the lights came Sept. 14, 2018, when the Golden Bears defeated Greenfield-Central, 28-27.
New Shelbyville High School football coach Brian Glesing.
“I think the community will like what I bring to the program but success will not happen overnight,” said Glesing. “It’s a long process. It will take baby steps. I have seen things to correct and get fixed. And we need to get the kids confident about themselves.”
Glesing’s track record fits Shelbyville’s need very well.
The 1989 Franklin Central High School graduate who played college football and baseball at Hanover College got his first head coaching job at LaVille High School in 2001. The program was 2-9 the year before he arrived and 0-10 in his first season.
The Lancers improved from there with records of 8-5, 9-4 and 5-6 before Glesing moved on to Clarksville, where he was 17-6 in two seasons.
Glesing settled in at Floyd Central in 2007 and won 70 games over 11 seasons. He had one-year stops at Jeffersonville and Paoli before his hiring at Shelbyville.
“I’ve already met with a lot of people,” he said. “I’ve gotten a lot of people’s opinions on what is good and what is bad. I’ve got in my head what needs to be fixed. I am certainly familiar with where we are at.”
Glesing has already assumed his teaching position at the high school but has not yet moved to central Indiana. He is still living in southern Indiana and staying with family in the area during the week.
There was a scheduled Zoom meeting Wednesday night with his coaching staff to start planning winter and spring workouts.
“I know this situation has some positives,” he said. “We’ve got a good group of young kids, especially coming from the middle school.”
Fundamentals will be key. Glesing plans to install a power running game to improve the offense’s lack of productivity the last two seasons.
“I’ve hung my hat in years past on being a good, power running football team,” he said. “I want to control the clock, get first downs and shorten games. For us to be successful, we have to run the football and then be good with play-action passing.”
An anemic offense the last two seasons has kept the defense on the field far too long. Glesing expects changes there too.
“It will be basic – keys and responsibilities,” he said. “We need to teach the kids to play fast but be a good tackling team – emphasize the fundamentals.”
Glesing understands there were young and undersized kids on the field in recent seasons. That experience will pay off if the athletes can improve off the field.
“We will focus on strength and conditioning,” he said. “We have to get stronger, faster, quicker and tougher – that will be the focus.”
The off-the-field workouts may be more important than the on-field workouts.
Glesing will take over the offseason workouts starting Monday. A recent callout produced approximately 60 sophomores, juniors and seniors. Glesing expects to add another 20-25 eighth graders that will be freshmen in the fall.
“The process needs to start for me learning names,” said Glesing with a laugh.
Glesing's success at other stops is a positive sign for Shelbyville. He points to other HHC programs like New Palestine and Mount Vernon, who have surged to the top of the conference after being in the middle of the pack for many years.
“There are no shortcuts,” he said. “I believe you keep the transition simple – get back to fundamentals and basics.”
Glesing’s debut as Golden Bears coach is scheduled for Aug. 20 at Greensburg.