Milford Athletic Director Mike Tkach leaving district for Caesar Rodney

MILFORD — After stepping down as Milford High’s football coach late last fall, Mike Tkach never hid his desire to continue patrolling the gridiron sidelines.

Last week he accepted an opportunity to do so, but it’s not at Milford.

Mike Tkach will be leaving Milford for Caesar Rodney prior to the fall sports season. (The Chronicle/file photo)

Mike Tkach will be leaving Milford for Caesar Rodney prior to the fall sports season. (The Chronicle/file photo)

Tkach, who is currently Milford’s athletic director and trainer, will join the new coaching staff at Caesar Rodney High under first-year head coach Dan Candeloro. He will officially resign from both Milford School District positions on Aug. 10.

“Last Wednesday I accepted a teaching and a coaching position with Caesar Rodney,” said Tkach, whose son Patrick will join him at CR as an incoming freshman student, Sunday night.

As a football head coach, Tkach guided Milford to its only football state championship back in 2008, but since then times had been tough for the Buccaneers.

Following last season’s 1-9 campaign, the 14-year head coach was informed by district Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Kohel that the position would be posted as open and he would have to reapply. Instead he stepped down as coach but kept the athletic director and trainer positions.

The want to coach again wasn’t Tkach’s only reason for leaving Milford. Current budget concerns – the result of two recently failed referendums – have the district looking to cut costs everywhere. Included in the cost-cutting was a proposal the high school only follow the minimum DIAA requirements regarding an athletic trainer’s responsibilities.

“I didn’t feel comfortable doing it part time and for some sports but not all,” Tkach said. “God forbid something happens to a kid on Tuesday when I’m not there and not made aware of it. What if I let that kid play on Friday? It’s dangerous and also it’s my license that would be on the line. My hope is that with me leaving, the school board and Dr. Kohel will try to find funding for a trainer to be there for practices, home games and for all sports.”

Seeking a career change nearly one and a half decades ago, Tkach landed the coaching and training gig at Milford and rebuilt a floundering football program into a respectable one. Throughout that time he formed a relationship with the community, colleagues and Milford students.

Those relationships, he said, made leaving Milford School District a difficult decision.

Former Milford High football head coach Mike Tkach led the 2008 Buccaneers to the school’s only football state championship. Tkach has coached multiple times in the Blue-Gold All-Star Game and sent more than 30 players to college football programs during his 14 years at Milford. He will join the staff at Caesar Rodney next week. (The Chronicle/file photo)

Former Milford High football head coach Mike Tkach led the 2008 Buccaneers to the school’s only football state championship. Tkach has coached multiple times in the Blue-Gold All-Star Game and sent more than 30 players to college football programs during his 14 years at Milford. He will join the staff at Caesar Rodney next week. (The Chronicle/file photo)

“There’s a lot of folks in that school I care about and love,” said Tkach, adding that he told new Buccaneers football coach Shaun Strickland to call him at any time with questions and asked Dr. Kohel to pass the same thing along to whoever is named his replacement as athletic director. “Milford will always have a special place in my heart and I can’t thank the Milford School District enough. Once a Buc, always a Buc.”

Fall sports practices are scheduled to begin in less than two weeks with regular season play slated for early September. Before departing his post, Tkach said he hopes to make sure Milford is prepared for the new season.

There will, however, still be plenty left to do for the new hire, including filling some coaching positions such as the still vacant wrestling post.

“The job was offered to (Sussex Tech assistant) Tad Broomall, who was a finalist for a teaching position at the (Milford Central) Academy, but he didn’t get that position,” Tkach said. “We told him to hang loose and that maybe some positions would open up, but he decided to pursue his master’s degree and withdrew (from consideration as wrestling coach).”

Along with the state championship run, Tkach said some of his fondest memories at Milford will include the opportunity to coach his son, also named Michael, in football and his time spent participating in Blue-Gold game events.

Further coverage of this story will be on milfordchronicle.net as it is made available.

From the Milford Chronicle Sports Desk

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.