It didn’t take long to see the improvements. Despite suffering a 55-0 loss to New Castle on Friday, the Shelbyville football program is on the right path. Because Golden Bear head coach Mike Clevenger is the real deal.

It would be easy to judge Clevenger by his record. After coming from Clinton Prairie in 2018, the Shelbyville football coach is 1-23 in his third season with the Golden Bears.

But what I noticed on Friday (first time seeing SHS play this season) goes beyond wins and losses. Despite losing the team’s starting quarterback to an injury – again – Clevenger had his squad fired up and ready to play.

See, this Shelbyville (0-4) group doesn’t care about the past. They want to win now. And they go into each contest thinking they can do just that. That type of mindset doesn’t come from nowhere. It starts at the top with Clevenger and his assistant coaches.

Did the game Friday against the Trojans go exactly as planned? Absolutely not. I can tell when listening to Clevenger talk that he hates to lose. He’s human, that is expected. But, regardless of the outcome, Clevenger always finds a way to be positive. He could talk for days about each one of his players. Ending his interviews with “it is always a great day to be a Golden Bear,” Clevenger can see the big picture – times will not always be this tough.

Furthermore, Clevenger, who is extremely well-liked by his players, brought back former Shelbyville head coach Pat Parks to help coach the middle school teams in the program. And at the varsity level? His guys are developing. Take a look at sophomore Cael Lux for example.

Simply put: Clevenger is doing all the right things. And although it may take additional time for consistent winning to take place, Shelbyville has the right man leading the program.

Kris Mills is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Kris on Twitter @KrisMills37.