Mount Vernon went with a familiar face to lead its football program.

Justin Fischer was named the new head football coach following a special session school board meeting on Wednesday evening. An assistant principal at the high school since 2017, he was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the Wildcats for the past three seasons.

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Fischer was an all-state football player at South Spencer before earning two letters at the University of Indianapolis. He started his coaching career at Riverton Parke in 2005 and was later named the defensive coordinator. Following a year at Columbus North, Fischer spent seven seasons on staff at North Vermillion. The team went 75-25, including the Class A state championship in 2014.

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He spent the past three seasons as an assistant for Luke Messmer. The Wildcats went 18-10, including a program-best eight regular-season wins in 2021. Fischer will also step into a teaching role.

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“We are excited to have Justin Fischer as our next head coach,” Mount Vernon athletics director Leigh Latshaw said in a press release. “He and the other male head coaches have already started working collaboratively to assist each other in building up all of our programs.”

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Messmer stepped down in November citing a combination of factors, including to “focus on my family and my own wellness.” Mount Vernon was 5-5 last season with two shutout wins before falling to eventual sectional champion Owen Valley in the opening round of the postseason.

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The Wildcats return multiple All-PAC selections, such as quarterback Nicot Burnett and wide receiver Jackson Clowers. Mount Vernon has five straight non-losing seasons – the first time for the program since the 1950s – but hasn’t won a postseason game since 2015.