Program History

A Tradition of Champions

Since 1920, Central Catholic High School has been one of the most successful and storied football programs in the state of Ohio. The Fighting Irish have won more than 550 games in that time and have accumulated numerous Toledo City League titles, appeared regularly in the state playoffs, including the last nine straight, and have claimed three state of Ohio championships – a Poll Title in 1962, Division II Titles in 2005 and 2012, and a Division III title in 2014. Central Catholic competes in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference (TRAC), which began athletic competition in the fall of 2011.    The conference currently consists of ten high schools from Northwest Ohio, seven of which are from the Toledo metropolitan area, and one each from the cities of Findlay, Fremont and Lima.

The late Coach Tom Santoro with the Fighting Irish Football Team

Academics come first in the Central Catholic football program.  Team members are guided in study skills development, and the team promotes success on the field as well as in the classroom.     

Greg Dempsey, a 1990 Central Catholic graduate, has been the head coach of the Fighting Irish since the year 2000.  He has the most wins and the highest winning percentage of any coach in the history of the Central Catholic Football Program.

With the construction of the multi-million dollar Gallagher Stadium, The Delp Fitness Center and The Carroll Family Locker Room Facility, the great tradition of Central Catholic Fighting Irish football will remain secure for many years to come.

The Fighting Irish Football Program has a history of preparing players to compete at the next level, including Ryne Robinson (Class of 2003) who played college football and baseball at Miami University (Ohio) and played with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, and Dane Sanzenbacher (Class of 2007) who had a stellar career with The Ohio State Buckeyes.  He played one season with the NFL’s Chicago Bears and has recently retired from the Cincinnati Bengals.  Eric Herman (Class of 2008) played at Ohio University and was a member of the New York Giants’ practice squad.

Members of the Central Catholic footbal program now playing football at the collegiate level include Michael Anderson with Lehigh University, Zach Harmon with Duke University, DeShone Kizer with University of Notre Dame, Ramone Miles and Chris Norwood with the University of Toledo, Paul Moses at Miami University (Ohio), and Keith Towbridge with the University of Louisville.  This tradition of excellence continues as many more student-athletes continue their football careers to Notre Dame, Iowa, Alabama, Louisville, Toledo, Bowling Green, and many more.