BUTLER TWP — Plenty of changes are in store for the Butler County Bears this season.
The fourth-year semi-pro football team will have a new offensive coordinator, new league and a new home when its season begins May 18.
The Bears are voluntarily leaving the Heartland League to become one of 18 teams in the newly formed Ohio Football League. Their 10-game schedule will feature no road trip longer than an hour and a half.
“This new league has a roster limit of 60 players,” said Bears owner and head coach Kirk Bergbigler Had we advanced in the Heartland playoffs last year, we would have faced teams with 90 or more rostered players. That makes it hard to compete.”
The Bears will be playing in their fourth different league in as many years. Their first two leagues folded.
After two years of playing their home games at Butler High School, the Bears will call Moniteau High School home this season. Butler is resurfacing its stadium track this summer, so Art Bernardi Stadium will be unavailable.
After three seasons on the job, Eric Hiwiller has stepped down as the Bears’ offensive coordinator. He will be replaced by Rodney Hall, a two-year starter as an offensive tackle at the University of Kentucky.
Bergbigler expects his roster to approach the 60-player limit this season. The team is now doing classroom sessions each Tuesday. Practice is scheduled to begin March 19.
The Bears finished 9-4 last year, bowing in the first round of the playoffs. They are 17-8 over the past two seasons.
Anyone interested in playing for the team may contact Bergbigler at 724-991-1861.