Plainfield Football Looks Forward to Continued Success Under Head Coach Tyler Bless

Writer / Melissa Gibson
Photographer / Amy Payne

In the spring of 2022, Plainfield High School hired a coach-in-waiting under now-retired Head Coach Brian Woodard.

Tyler Bless was brought in as director of the Plainfield Opportunity Academy and associate head football coach, and this fall he’s assumed the head coach position. After getting to know the faculty, staff and athletes over the past year, Bless is excited to get to work.

He’s a graduate of Mooresville High School and Franklin College. Like many coaches, he began sharing his love for the game after playing football for most of his life, leading teams at Defiance College in Ohio, the University of Indianapolis, Butler University and Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky.  Tyler Bless

Unlike many coaches, when Bless came back to Plainfield to take a staff position under Woodard’s final season, many already knew his name.

“My dad is Mark Bless,” he says. “He just retired as head coach of Avon High School after 13 years. I have an uncle, Scott Bless, who is the head coach for Bloomington North High School, and my other uncle, Tim Bless, is retired as the head coach at Columbus North High School.”

Bill Bless, the patriarch of the Bless men and Bless’s grandfather, was the head coach for Indiana Central College, now known as the University of Indianapolis, and Bless’s father and uncles all played under Bill’s leadership.

As a high school student, Bless played football under his own father’s coaching at Mooresville High School.

He’s had opportunities to coach alongside his uncle Tim at Columbus North and his father at Mooresville High School, but Bless is forging his own path on the football field as well.

Football, one might say, has been ingrained in the Bless family for decades.

“For me, as a kid growing up, football was all I’ve ever known,” Bless says. “My dad was already a head football coach and it was just a part of our life. Everything revolved around football. Some people who aren’t around sports or football might think, ‘That poor kid,’ but I think it showed my sister and I work ethic, dedication and giving back to a younger generation. It was the best childhood you could have.”

Today, Bless hopes to instill those qualities in his team, like his father before him, and he knows the benefits firsthand.

Referring to football as “the greatest sport ever made,” Bless says making the choice to continue in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps was easy.Tyler Bless

“It’s the closest thing to comparing what you’ll encounter as you go through life,” Bless says. “Football is good and it’s hard, but it’s really about how life is going to be outside of high school.”

When Plainfield Community School Corporation called, Bless says the position was a dream job for him.

“This was a no-brainer,” Bless says. “My parents live in Plainfield. My sister is close by. From the family aspect, it was an easy decision, but Plainfield High School football is also a first-class program, rich in tradition. It’s one of the three or four positions that I’ve always said, ‘If that opens up, that’d be the dream job.’”

The coach-in-waiting position is unique for high school, and he was able to be a part of a fun and exciting send-off for Woodard’s final season.

The Plainfield Red Pride finished 6-6 and won their first sectional championship in 22 years.

“Sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn’t, but this was a huge deal for our program and for our school,” Bless says. “They’ve always had really good talent, and it’s a challenging conference with excellent players.”

While Tyler Bless says he doesn’t intend to do a major overhaul of the current program, this summer he has added his own spin to it.

“I tell people, it was in good hands when I took over,” he says. “Coach Woodard did a great job since 2006. This program might need a fresh coat of paint, but the motor is good and the body is good and we’ll continue pushing that TLC – trust, love and commitment – with our guys.”

That fine-tuning Bless speaks of has been underway since the beginning of the summer with practices, planning, and a lot of commitment and encouragement.

“We’ve been going since June, working on conditioning and plays,” he says. “More than that though, our program standards say we do what is right, do your best and have a good attitude, and show people you care. This can be as simple as opening a door for someone, and relates to our relationships both on and off the field.”

Tyler Bless says football will eventually end for all those who play the game, but the lessons the young athletes learn are lifelong and the goal is to make an impact on each young man’s life.Tyler Bless

“These guys will live the rest of their life with the skills they learned in football,” Bless says. “It’s easy to remember and hard to follow. We always want to strive for success.”

The program consists of more than 115 players on the varsity, junior varsity, and freshman teams, giving each athlete a chance to grow, improve and play throughout the season.

They also have a wide range of experience from the 18-plus coaches involved.

“We have a great variety, from coaches who are volunteers and work somewhere in the private sector during the day, and teachers in the building who teach first and coach second,” Bless says. “We have alum come back and coach for us – guys in their 50s and have coached for 30 years, and others that have coached for two.”

In addition, the parents come through with full support. The parents club raises funds for pregame meals, breakfasts for those playing on Saturday mornings, and so much more. They are behind the annual golf outing and partnering with local businesses for a fundraiser discount card. Their goal is to provide the best experience possible for their young athletes, and to partner with the program administration in meeting needs on the field.Tyler Bless

“I’m extremely excited about this upcoming season,” Bless says. “I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made, and I can’t wait to see what we accomplish and watch these athletes continue to get better every day.”

As for his family, Tyler Bless says he was surprised when his dad chose to retire, but knows he still has support on all levels.

“I’m happy for him,” Bless says. “He’s coached since 1985, and I’m excited he can enjoy a new chapter in life and travel with my mom. He comes around to our practices every now and then, and I rely on him all the time. We’ve had multiple conversations about program development and plays. I’d always welcome him into our program. It’s a huge reason why I do it – to continue this legacy they’ve made for me.”

To follow the Red Pride football team, visit them on Facebook @PlainfieldFootball.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Latest Hendricks County Stories

Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.

Send me your media kit!

hbspt.forms.create({ portalId: "6486003", formId: "5ee2abaf-81d9-48a9-a10d-de06becaa6db" });