During Tyler LeMon's soccer career at Champion, the 2006 graduate left a mark on the boys soccer program.
On Oct. 28, 2004, the then-junior stepped up to the penalty spot in a shootout during the Division III district title game against Ursuline with a chance to send Champion to the regional tournament. He converted that penalty, and the Golden Flashes won their second-consecutive district championship.
"It was one of the greatest moments that I've experienced with the team, it really brings your whole team together," LeMon said. "Just to know we made it through the district championships and on our way to regionals with a shot at a state championship coming from such a small school is something special."
That marked the last time the Champion boys made it that far in the tournament, and nine years later, LeMon is hoping to return the program to such postseason prominence as head coach of the boys soccer program.
The former defenseman took the position over when the former boys coach, Shawnn Wilson, stepped down because of the birth of his son. Wilson switched over to the girls junior varsity leader at Champion under varsity coach Dan Houle because he couldn't devote the time necessary to manage a varsity team.
Wilson had a record of 88-41-10 over his eight-year span as the boys coach, replacing Nate Mailach in 2005 after he left for the Lakeview job. Despite the success in terms of records, the Golden Flashes never made it past the district semifinal round.
Having coached LeMon when he was a senior and having him as an assistant coach the past couple of seasons, Wilson said LeMon is ready to hit the ground running.
"I think that is the best thing about coaching: You get to teach a little bit, then you see the kids grow up and they come back and they show you not only what you taught them but what they've learned (afterward)," Wilson said. "It just carries on like that. Tyler was always a team player and always a good role model.
"For anybody to step in, I think he's ready to step in and take over."
In terms of style of play, LeMon doesn't think that much will change for the Flashes in 2013. Champion will continue to use set pieces to their advantage.
LeMon wants to incorporate a more possession-oriented style of play, although that won't be this year. Champion will have to rely on a large freshman class to go with a small core of upperclassmen, with LeMon saying that 17 freshmen have showed up to some non-mandatory conditioning workouts already.
"We have a couple of guys that can throw the ball, and we have some guys that can win the air," LeMon said. "That has always really worked out for us in the past, so we're going to continue with that. But I'd like to develop a sense of that one-touch, give-and-go soccer that we've been lacking a little bit."
Despite this and losing a good portion of last season's team that finished 10-4-3 to graduation, LeMon expects the boys to be an above-.500 team. The schedule isn't kind to the Flashes though, highlighted by two matches against two-time defending Division II district champion Lakeview.
"We have some tough teams on the schedule, playing Lakeview twice, Howland twice, opening up against Boardman - some really great teams," LeMon said. "So, if we can manage to go 10-6, 9-7 with our group, that's something great and I think we have the capability to shock a couple of bigger teams."
As for Wilson joining the girls staff, Houle said that Wilson will be a welcome addition and should help prepare the junior varsity players for the next level.
There is one aspect of coaching that Houle already enjoys from Wilson.
"It's been mostly physical stuff, running on the track - things like that, which (Wilson) is pretty good at," Houle said. "So, I let him do that kind of stuff because he is a track coach at Champion."