For Dave Sharpe, it wasn't a question of if, it was a question of when and where.
The former La Porte football coach, who resigned after the 2018 season to be closer to the family's Jacob Sharpe Foundation in Indianapolis, is a head coach once again.
"My life's been a horrible journey the last couple years, it felt so good to have a home again," Sharpe said of his hiring at Noblesville. "I wanted part of my old life back so bad. Man, it's exciting. I met all the kids (Wednesday) and it was eerily similar to when I started at La Porte."
Sharpe coached the Slicers for four seasons, compiling a record of 26-17. His son Jacob died June 4, 2018, from fetal dural sinus thrombosis, a rare brain disorder. Sharpe and his wife, Kristen, subsequently started the foundation in conjunction with Riley's Children Hospital to provide funds for grieving families to honor their child's life through memorial and funeral services. The family moved to Fishers after the last school year to advance the foundation, which has raised over $50,000, and Sharpe caught on as an assistant this season at nearby Hamilton Southeastern.
"He didn't think he could be an assistant coach at first, but once he got into it, he really enjoyed it," said Bob James, a La Porte assistant and close friend of Sharpe. "It was a great staff and he got to really liking the kids. It was just that the coaches all live all over Indy and the (off-field) camaraderie just wasn't there. We hung out all the time and he didn't have anybody to talk to. We were in contact two, three times a week. I knew he'd be an assistant coach for a year or two and then he'd get a job. His resume' is too good. He liked the whole one-town, one-team thing."
Noblesville isn't a football hotbed -- it went 1-9 last season and hasn't had a winning season since 2001 -- but Sharpe relishes the challenge of turning around the program. He hopes to retain all of the assistant coaches.
"If it didn't have so many similarities to La Porte, I don't know if I would have applied," Sharpe said. "It's about the same size as La Porte. I feel like I know most of the kids' names already. We've got some big boys and some squirrelly little running backs. We'll see what works."
Sharpe replaces Justin Roden, who is leaving Noblesville to return to the Cincinnati area.
“Coach Sharpe has a great football pedigree and 14 years of strong, successful coaching experience,” Noblesville Athletic Director Leah Wooldridge said on the school's web site. “He knows we’ve been a team in transition and he’s committed to bringing stability and leadership to build our program. His focus on kids and his great football mind will be huge assets. I’m excited to see what we can accomplish together moving forward.”