MILFORD, Ohio — Tom Grippa likes to say he was always meant to be a high school football coach. On Friday night, it was his time to be recognized for a special career milestone.
Grippa celebrated his 200th career win as visiting Milford defeated Edgewood 41-14 in a non-league football season opener.
"We've been consistently good wherever I've been – whether it's Elder, Fairfield, La Salle or Milford," Grippa told WCPO.
"I'm really, really proud of my Milford kids because...I took over a program that was terrible and we won right away. The kids bought in. We changed the culture, and that's not always easy to do. It took a little bit of time to change it at Fairfield and here we did it right away."
Grippa, starting his 30th year as a high school head coach, is in his fifth season leading the Milford football program. He has a 200-116 record, according to the Milford athletic department.
Grippa is the 64th coach in state history to reach 200 wins, according to the Ohio High School Athletic Association record book.
"I'm really proud of the kids and the program," said Grippa, who spent four seasons as the Mount St. Joseph University offensive coordinator prior to Milford.
Grippa is 23-15 at Milford and has led the Eagles to three playoff appearances including the first postseason win in program history in 2017.
“We are so proud to have a legend like Coach Grippa leading our program,” Milford athletic director Aaron Zupka said. “He has led our program to unprecedented heights during his time in Milford and we couldn’t be more excited to have him earn this milestone while leading our Eagles.”
Zupka said Grippa has always connected well with the Milford teams. There are 130-plus players in the Milford program.
"He's a player's coach," Zupka said. "The kids love playing for him. He relates to those kids."
The Eagles, which led 28-7 at halftime Friday, were led by junior quarterback Austin Hardin. He was 16 of 22 passing for 293 yards and four touchdowns.
Grippa was able to celebrate the career milestone win with a banner after the game surrounded by his players. He triumphantly raised the game ball in the locker room beside the team.
"We came home and it was like we won the Super Bowl," Grippa said.
The Eagles (1-0) play host to Lakota East (0-1) Aug. 27.