By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
“Getting to Know” is an ongoing series that was created to spotlight the coaches and administrators that are guiding today’s Portage County student-athletes to be tomorrow’s leaders.
Today, we get to know Streetsboro High School cross country coach Jon Hannan, who is in his fifth season leading the boys program and third season leading the girls program.
A: Streetsboro, Ohio.
Q: High school?
A: Crestwood High School. Class of 2012. Played football and basketball. I never ran competitively, but my twin brother was a good cross country runner at Streetsboro, and I used to run with him all the time and helped run track meets at Crestwood. This gave me my interest to coach running sports.
A: Kent State University. Bachelor’s in Business Management (2017) and Master’s in Public Administration (2021).
Q: Current occupation?
A: I have multiple jobs. I work as an Education Aide at Streetsboro Middle School. I coach high school cross country and middle school track. I am also elected to Streetsboro City Council and have served there since 2017. I am also the City Council President. I have served in the Army National Guard since 2015, and I am currently a Staff Sergeant and my job is in transportation. I also help run “Running Rockets,” which is the youth running club in Streetsboro. I also help manage basketball games at Streetsboro, running the clock or being a facility manager.
Q: What inspired you to be a coach?
A: My dad is the main reason I got into coaching. I come from a big football family. The entire reason we live in this area is because my dad got the football job at Crestwood in 1994 shortly after I was born. This is also why I decided to attend Crestwood. I wanted to get into coaching football the year after graduating and interviewed for a volunteer job at Streetsboro, but at the same time my twin brother, Pete, was coaching the middle school cross country team at Streetsboro and needed help. I made the decision then to get into coaching cross country and do not regret my decision at all.
Q: What makes being a coach at Streetsboro special to you?
A: A lot makes it special, but the biggest part are the kids. Streetsboro gave me a chance to coach and do so for 10 years now, and I will always appreciate that. But the kids are such a good group and are always working hard to improve. We also have a lot of fun and I enjoy going to practices and meets!
Q: Who has been your biggest influence?
A: Jeff Howard at Woodridge has always been an awesome guy to look up to and learn from. His success at Woodridge is something most schools want to model. I’m the youngest coach in our league so I love looking up to all the veteran coaches.
My twin brother Pete has also been a huge mentor for me, seeing that he ran in high school and got me into coaching. I’m always calling him and discussing things with him and have learned so much from him.
Q: Funny story that nobody would believe from your playing days?
A: I have a twin brother, and we both attended Streetsboro until high school when I decided to go to Crestwood. At the time, these two were huge rival schools. Pete and I ended up playing a few games against each other. The first being a JV basketball game, where we guarded each other, and I scored my only 2 points of the game on him. The other times were in football. He was a kicker for their team and we played each other both junior and senior year. Crestwood won junior year, but Streetsboro won senior year. Which was cool because it was played Week 10 and was both of our last ever football games in our high school careers.
Q: Funny story that nobody would believe from your coaching career?
A: In the summer before last season, we were doing a long run at City Park. A group of girls found a yard sale on the road next to the park and happened to have cash on them. They decided to buy me a huge painting and brought it back. The team signed it and it’s still hanging up in my living room.
Q: Favorite TV show?
A: I really enjoy watching Home Improvement shows. My brothers and I are pretty good at renovating things and I’ve always enjoyed watching those shows.
Q: Favorite movie?
A: Friday Night Lights or McFarland, USA.
Q: Favorite musical artist?
A: I am a big country music fan and like Morgan Wallen, but Metallica will always be my favorite.
Q: Favorite food?
A: Pizza or steak.
Q: Best vacation?
A: Myrtle Beach.
Q: Shoutout to former teammates?
A: Brandon Civitarese, Sean Dockery.
Q: Favorite motto?
A: Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.
Q: Describe your coaching philosophy?
A: Pretty simple: Work hard and have fun. I also like to use the next man up mentality.
Q: Favorite restaurant?
A: Applebees or Olive Garden.
Q: Favorite teacher from high school?
A: Mr. Grover Vaught. I had him for government and was a reason why I have taken an interest in and ran for office in Streetsboro. I’d also be wrong if I didn’t list my dad. He was my gym teacher and was pretty cool having him as a teacher.
Q: Advice you would give the younger version of yourself?
A: Focus on the things you can control and not worry so much.
Q: Favorite coach from your playing days?
A: Mr. Brock (my middle school football coach) always made a good balance between fun and hard work which is something I’ve strived to do as a coach. I also work with him at the middle school now and is always someone I can ask for advice from.
Q: Coaching resume?
A: Streetsboro Middle School cross country (2014-18); Streetsboro High School cross country coach (2019-present); Streetsboro High School girls cross country (2021-present); Streetsboro Middle School track and field (2020-present); Crestwood Middle School track and field (2019).
Q: Favorite sports team?
A: Cleveland Browns.
Q: Favorite athlete then?
A: Troy Polamalu. Even though he was on the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he was always a great player and fun to watch.
Q: Favorite athlete now?
A: Nick Chubb — because of how hard he works and how humble he is.
Q: First job as a teenager?
A: Big T’s Diner as a dishwasher.
Q: Family member that always gave you the best advice?
A: My mother.
Q: Favorite video game?
Q: Favorite candy?
A: Watermelon Sour Patch Kids.
Q: First car?
A: 2001 Nissan Sentra.
Q: Best friends?
A: Pete Hannan, Sean Dockery, Brandon Civitarese.
Q: Most memorable moment as a player?
A: Being a kid on the sidelines at Crestwood football games defined my childhood. The most memorable moment was the first time I got in on varsity during the Homecoming Game my freshman year against Coventry. It was cool to soak in and be on the other side and not just on the sidelines. Also, the next year in a JV game, I scored my first touchdown and my dad was the one who called the play.
Q: Most memorable moment as a coach?
A: I love seeing the kids improve each week, but the best moment was when I had an athlete, Zach Vales, advance to the State XC meet in 2020. It was the first time since 2003 a Streetsboro runner had advanced to States and it was awesome to celebrate that with him.
What a great article in regard to a fantastic servant leader in our community. Both Pete and Jon are fabtastic young men The questions made the article fun to read too Tom.!!