Tom Wogomon has always had a long commute to work.
First for 13 years as an assistant at East Noble, and then as head coach at Wawasee for the past six seasons, the Middlebury resident has always had plenty of time in the car to think about football on the way to work.
Not any more.
Wogomon is the new head football coach at Northridge, having been approved by the Middlebury school board on Tuesday. He replaces Jonathan Kirkton, who recently stepped down after 10 seasons.
Wogomon was 25-37 in six seasons at Wawasee and led the Warriors to the 2012 Class 4A sectional finals where they fell to eventual regional champion Concord.
Wogomon said on Wednesday that he is looking forward to the new role at Northridge. He met with his Wawasee players on Wednesday to break the news to them, and then met with the Northridge players Wednesday morning.
Wogomon said there was some disappointment among the Wawasee players.
“But they understand that you play for a program and not necessarily a coach,” Wogomon added.
Wogomon is already familiar with the Middlebury school system: His son, Josh, graduated from Northridge before moving on to Ball State. A daughter, Hannah, is a freshman at Northridge now; and another daughter, Emma, is a fifth grader in the Middlebury system,
Wogomon is looking forward to living and working in the same community.
“We talked about this as a family when this opportunity came up,” Wogomon said. “It’s the right move for us.”
First for Wogomon in his new role is to assemble a staff, he said. He expects to do that within the first 30 days.
“There’s a checklist of things you go through, and that’s going to be at the top,” Wogomon said.
In taking over the Raider program, Wogomon will be guiding a program that has struggled to put together wins at times over the years.
He is looking forward to the challenge.
“Jonathan is a friend of mine, and they’ve done some good things here,” Wogomon said.
First up for Wogomon in his dealings with the Raider players is getting them to buy into the idea that the past is the past and that a new era of Northridge football is beginning.
“My philosophy is faith first, then family, then football,” Wogomon said. “I want them to turn the page and look forward.”