Waynedale hires AD, football coach

Waynedale hires AD, football coach

Jesse Kanter is the new head football coach at Waynedale High School.


With the departure of Zach Golec last month, Waynedale's athletic department was left with two positions to fill.

The Golden Bears found those replacements as Andrew Johnson has been selected to become the school's next athletic director and Jesse Kanter has been tabbed to lead the football program — both becoming official at a recent board meeting.

They both replace Golec, who served as both athletic director and football coach before leaving announcing last month he be taking the vacant AD job at Indian Valley.

“Waynedale boasts a strong academic and athletic history, with a rich tradition and an incredibly supportive community,” Johnson said. “We have an athletic program that promotes community, school spirit, and academic achievement.

“I look forward to upholding the tradition of Waynedale excellence in academics and athletics.”

Johnson takes over the AD position after spending 11 years in education, most recently serving as a consultant for the Tri-County Educational Service Center.

The 34-year-old Dalton resident was a two-sport standout at Orrville, participating in football and track, before graduating in 2008. Johnson then went on to garner degrees from both the University of Akron and Walden University.

But what has Johnson excited the most about leading the Golden Bears athletic program is continuing the strong winning tradition that has the baseball team make its third straight state Final Four appearance earlier this month after capturing the Div. III championship in both 2022 and 2023, along with state runs for both the girls basketball and wrestling program in recent years.

“We have multiple athletic programs at Waynedale that are truly the gold standard within the state, and being able to support students both academically and through all of our athletic programs is a unique and exciting opportunity,” he said. “Participation in sports teaches students valuable life skills such as leadership, time management, and resilience.

Combining the aspects of academics and athletics contributes to the development of individuals who will be prepared to meet the needs and challenges of tomorrow.”

Kanter, 27, is poised to take over as Waynedale's football coach after serving as the head JV coach for the Golden Bears this past fall, along with coaching both the offensive and defensive lines.

It will be the first head coaching gig for the Indian Valley graduate, who works as a glass cutter for ProVia in Strasburg.

An army veteran, Kanter played amateur football after his playing career at Indian Valley before starting his coaching career in Colorado Springs — while stationed nearby — along with four seasons at his alma mater where he coached the freshman team and defensive line.

He also is a cancer survivor who has been in remission for over eight years.

“I am extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to be the next head coach at Waynedale and I am extremely eager to build a winning program for the Golden Bear community,” Kanter said. “I think the thing that excited me the most about coming back to Waynedale was the overwhelming support the community gives the young student athletes in any of the sports and the extreme pride these young men take and what they do in their day-to-day life.

“We’ve got a lot of phenomenal kids on this roster and I’ve been looking to add to it.”

Waynedale is coming off of a 3-7 season, which included going 2-5 in the Wayne County Athletic League, and hasn't made the postseason since 2021.

But with a young roster expected, Kanter is eager to get to work making the Golden Bears a team that the community can rally behind.

“There are so many great athletes here at Waynedale, and I really look forward to instilling a very physical football team this upcoming football season,” he said. “There’s a great sense of pride that comes with physically dominating another football team under the Friday night lights.

“The staff and I are extremely eager to get started.”

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