By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
There have been plenty of changes in Kyle Park's life recently and one more - a really big one - happened Monday night.
For starters Kyle and his wife Heidi just purchased a home in Zionsville.
Four weeks ago the couple had their third child, a son named Drew.
If all that wasn't enough to fill their lives with chaos, the 1997 Goshen High School graduate was hired for his dream job as the head coach for the Redskins' football team.
"It's surreal right now. I can't believe I'm coming back to a community that has done so much for me and my family," the 35-year-old said. "The Goshen job has been my goal. One I've been working for the last three years.
"We were comfortable in Zionsville. I told people that the Goshen job was the only one I would ever consider leaving Zionsville for. It was a full-family decision to make the move."
Park has been the offensive coordinator at Zionsville for head coach Larry McWhorter for the past five seasons.
He was introduced at the school board meeting Monday night by GHS Principal Barry Younghans. Following the introduction Superintendent Diane Woodworth said, "Kyle's references were outstanding, Nobody had anything but praise for him. Either as a football coach or a teacher."
Park was a candidate for the Goshen job three years ago when Mike Cheviron was hired.
Cheviron stepped down after this past season.
"I feel the last five years have gotten me ready to be a head coach," he said. "The last three have been excellent preparation, because I've had the opportunity to work with some of the things that are involved in being a head coach."
He shared one of the things he gained from the Zionsville experience.
"Zionsville is known for having undersized players and ones that don't have a lot of speed," Park said. "We got the kids to buy into what we were doing and we competed with bigger and faster teams."
The Redskins experienced an 0-10 record this past season.
"One of the first things we want to do is put a product on the field that the kids and the community can be proud of," Park said. "The main thing is getting the kids to buy into what you are trying to do."
Kyle is not only returning to Goshen where he was an All-State quarterback: He is also taking over the head coaching position once held by his father, Brad Park.
"The best thing I can do is be my own coach," the younger Park said.
"I'm sure there are going to be people in the community that will remember me or know the name."
Brad Park coached the Redskins to an impressive 81-34 record from 1993- 2002.
Park's 81 victories are tied for most in school history with Ken Mirer, who went 81-36 from 1974-84.
"My wife (Jackie) and I are very thankful for the opportunity Kyle has been given," Brad Park said. "We are excited about what can happen."
After graduating from Goshen, Kyle Park went on to play four years at Ferris State in Big Rapids, Michigan.
Growing up with a father who was a football coach is a reason why Kyle went into the profession.
"Coaching was all I knew growing up," he said. "My degree from Ferris State is in business, but I knew right away that wasn't what I wanted to do. So I became a teacher and a coach."
His first two years of coaching were at Ferris State before he spent the past seven at Zionsville.
He addressed changes he intends to make in the Goshen program.
"The offense is going to be more of a traditional one," Park said. "We will look to run the ball first, but we will throw it at times. As a former quarterback, I can say we will not be running the option. We are going to run the ball downhill."
Since Park will be finishing out the school year at Zionsvill, putting together a coaching staff at Goshen is a top priority.
"I need a staff that I can trust with the day-to-day operations until school gets out," Park said.
Jody Weldy, a former Northridge High School player, has been coaching with Park at Zionsville and could be coming to Goshen as part of Park's staff.
"Jody and I have talked a lot about the challenges of being a head coach," Park said. "He's a Northridge guy, but we shouldn't hold that against him."
Park was meeting with players Monday night after the press conference announcing his hiring.
Park also has a connection to Nate Andrews, who was recently hired as the new coach at NorthWood High School.
"I replaced Nate on the Zionsville staff," Park said.
The distance between Goshen and Zionsville hasn't kept Park from keeping tabs on the Redskins.
"Due to coaching I haven't been able to watch games, but every Friday night on the way down from the press box I made a phone call to see how the Redskins did," he said. "It has been hard watching what the program has been going through, and I want to return Goshen football to a place where I think and the community thinks it should be."
Park's younger brother Kevin, also a Goshen and Ferris State product, is already on the GHS coaching staff.
Kyle Park will be a business teacher at Goshen. He was the Zionsville Teacher of the Year in 2009-10.
Kyle and his wife also have a son Brady and a daughter, Paige.