In this Sept. 28, 2019, photo, Jay County High School football coach Tim Millspaugh calls in a play during a road game at the Woodlan Warriors. On Monday, Jay School Board decided not to renew Millspaugh’s contract, marking an end to his eight years as JCHS football coach. (The Commercial Review/Chris Schanz)
In this Sept. 28, 2019, photo, Jay County High School football coach Tim Millspaugh calls in a play during a road game at the Woodlan Warriors. On Monday, Jay School Board decided not to renew Millspaugh’s contract, marking an end to his eight years as JCHS football coach. (The Commercial Review/Chris Schanz)
Wins and losses. They are the epitome of sports.

That’s true in life, as well.

Someone, or one team, wins the game. The other loses.

One candidate gets the job. The others, essentially, lose.

But as with sports, the ultimate judge of success is by whatever the record says.

Win every game? Excellent season. Lose ’em all? Ouch.

More often than not, though, more is learned from losses than the wins.

Again, though, success is measured by the number in the first column.

Tim Millspaugh didn’t have a whole lot of those. In eight seasons leading the Jay County High School football team, he only had 28, an average of 3.5 wins a year.

He also had 53 losses which amounts to approximately 6.6 losses per year. It is also the more important number to Jay School Board, which Monday decided not to renew Millspaugh’s contract.

Millspaugh, a Delta graduate, started at Jay County as an assistant coach in 2002. He was on staff during 2007 when Shane Hill’s squad won the program’s — and to date, only — sectional title.

He then stepped away as an assistant in 2010, Steve Boozier’s first year as coach at his alma mater. Millspaugh rejoined a year later for two seasons, and then got his shot to lead the program in 2013.

He had his best record that first year, going 7-4. He only had one other winning season, a 6-4 mark three years later.

But things declined, quickly. He was 1-18 in the last two years.

It’s been a rough couple of years for Jay County, no doubt. First and foremost, that falls on the coach. On Millspaugh.

A 28-53 record is not good. Programs are built, and sustained, on being successful. Winning is contagious. Athletes want to be part of winning programs, and continued success drives athletes to continue to get better.

Just look at any school in Ohio’s Midwest Athletic Conference. They win, they do it often and they have storied programs.

Jay County football, to be blunt, is not a storied program.

But is that because of the coaches?

Tom Bruin, the program’s first coach, led the team for 17 seasons, and was 106-59. But he never won a sectional title. No other JCHS coach had a winning record.

Millspaugh has a 34.6% winning percentage, and it is the third highest among the Patriots’ eight head coaches in 46 seasons.

Remember, though, coaches are judged on wins and losses.

But that’s a poor barometer for assessing the value of a coach, especially at the high school level when, according to the NCAA, only 7.3% of all prep football players move on to the NCAA at any level.

So sure, Millspaugh didn’t have the greatest coaching record. But how was he as a coach?

Ask the players.

“I honestly thought he did a good job when it came to preparing for games and making sure he was putting us in a position to win,” said Ryan Schlechty, a 2019 graduate. “As a coach he did push people to play better, and if he didn’t think you were giving your best he let you know his expectations.”

Michael Schlechty echoed the sentiments of his twin brother, saying Millspaugh gave everything in trying to ensure the team was ready week in and week out.

Another former player, who chose to remain anonymous, said the biggest thing he learned from Millspaugh had nothing to do with football.

“I thought he was one of the highest-character people I’ve ever been around,” the source said. “He always cared more about the well-being of his coaches and players than he did anything else.

“He made sure getting good grades and being good people took precedence over football. I can definitely say work ethic was not to blame for his lack of success … Overall I enjoyed playing for him. He may not have been a successful coach but he was a successful mentor to the players.”

While Facebook is hardly the place to get honest opinions, upon the news Monday of the board’s decision, support for the 45-year-old came pouring out, most notably from one of his assistants, Tony Minch, but also Adam Gray, a JCHS graduate and current coach of the Heritage boys basketball team.

“He’s a good man,” Gray posted on Facebook. “I know if I ever needed anything at any time he’d be there for me. He loves kids. His passion is evident and contagious. I saw it first-hand (in 2019) when they picked up their first win of the season week nine against (Heritage). Their players played with enthusiasm and energy, which would be difficult being a winless team.”

Don’t get me wrong, Millspaugh had his flaws, too. The same anonymous source said his biggest defect was perhaps being too nice.

“He wasn’t as stern as most football coaches,” he said. “I think some players felt too comfortable around him and that led to them not taking him as serious. In the end, the trend I noticed was a failure for the team to really buy into him and put faith into him.”

Another player who chose to be anonymous felt Millspaugh wasn’t the best at adapting on the fly when a game plan wasn’t working. The same source said Millspaugh was at times reluctant to listen to opinions of players on specific schemes or plays.

Overall, it seemed Millspaugh’s former players enjoyed having him as coach because of what they learned off the field. At the end of the day, high school sports are just a chapter in one’s life, but the lessons those athletes learned during that chapter can be applied long after graduation.

Michael Schlechty said he learned how to be mentally tough from Millspaugh, and he still uses that trait as a student at Ball State.

Yes, Tim Millspaugh did not have the greatest record as a football coach at Jay County. As evidenced by some of his former players, though, his effectiveness as a coach extended far beyond the gridiron. His 28-53 record is not indicative of him as a person.

To paraphrase Martin Luther King Jr., judge Millspaugh not by the number of wins and losses, but by the content of his character.

Like Gray said, “He is a good man.”