SELLERSBURG — David Papenhaus was hired as Silver Creek's new football coach in the late spring.
The 39-year-old Greensburg native has been an assistant coach in Southern Indiana for more than 15 years. After graduating from Ball State University in 2002, Papenhaus spent eight seasons at Jeffersonville, then two more at Clarksville with current New Albany head coach Steve Cooley. He then coached at Silver Creek, working under Jason Hawkins in 2014, before following Hawkins to Charlestown the next year. Papenhaus spent the past four seasons as defensive coordinator for the Pirates, who went 27-14 in that time.
In May, he was hired to take over the Silver Creek program from John Dablow, the school's new athletic director.
News and Tribune sports reporter Josh Cook sat down with Papenhaus for an interview Wednesday. Here are a few of the highlights.
Q: How are things going so far?
A: We’ve had a really good summer. The turnout’s been good with the kids. The kids are really working hard. We’re kind of behind a little bit, just by the nature of taking over late, but we’re really gaining on it. Here lately we’ve really started getting a lot of stuff in. We’re not where we want to be, but we’re probably about where we should be.
Q: How many kids do you have out right now?
A: We’re right around 60. We’ve probably averaged 55 at practice each night. Again, probably not where we want to be, we’d like to have it to be around 70. I think we’ll probably get close to that number once school comes back and we get a few more freshmen showing up and get them out.
Q: You were here before as an assistant coach, what’s it been like to come back to Silver Creek?
A: I really enjoyed my time here the first time and felt like it was a pretty special place ... I remembered correctly. I’m very glad to be here, the kids are great to work with, the community’s been very supportive and welcoming — it’s been a good time. It’s been a whirlwind [too]. We’ve been flying around trying to get everything going and hit the ground running, but it’s been really good.
Q: The season is still a little more than a month away, but what kind of expectations do you have for your team?
A: Right now, the expectations, everything’s kind of tempered at this point. We just want to make sure that we take care of things that we can take care of and control the stuff that’s within our power. We’re going to play hard. We talk to the kids all the time about, ‘We’re not going to coach your effort.’ The kids are all giving great effort every day and having positive attitudes. Adversity is going to hit, how are you going to adjust and how are you going to react when adversity does happen? We’re really focusing on those type of things. We're working hard in the weight room. Everybody’s trying to learn and get the new systems in, both offensively and defensively. If we do what we’re supposed to do, then everything will take care of itself once the season gets here.
Q: What will you run on offense and defense?
A: We’ll be kind of multiple on offense, a little bit of everything here and there. Defensively we’ll be in the 3-3 stack, it will be our front defense, that we ran the last few years at Charlestown.
Q: Are you looking forward to facing Charlestown in the first game of the season?
A: It’s going to be fun. It’s all the side stuff I'm sure that will get tiring, but it’ll be a good time. It’s fun. I’d like for it to be later in the season, but Hawk’s got a great program out there. It is a fun game going through it four, or five, years now. With it being early in the year it’s always packed, it’ll be a packed house. It provides good motivation for the summer. The kids are looking forward to Week One at both schools. All the other stuff really doesn’t matter. But it’ll be fun, I'm looking forward to it.
Q: You’re going to hold Charlestown star running back Marion Lukes under 100 yards, right?
A: (He laughs) You didn’t hear that from me. What a welcoming gift to being a head coach, right? We get [to face] one of the top rushers in the country to open up with Week One. We’ll have a game plan together and we’ll have a good plan. I don’t know that anybody will keep Marion under 100 yards, but we’re going to do the very best that we can do.
Q: What’s it been like to join a Silver Creek athletic program that is having so much success right now?
A: Everything is rolling — softball, baseball, basketball, obviously, girls’ basketball is on an up-tick, they’re going to be really good this year. We’ve got to step it up. We’re kind of the odd-man out right now. It’s great to be surrounded by so many great coaches that are so successful. I’m always trying to learn. When I walk by and see somebody in the gym I’ll just stop and kind of watch their practice and see how they do things. It’s been great for me. I’ve learned a ton just being a fly on the wall with the other sports around here.