Credit Francis Scott Key High girls basketball coach Brian Hollingsworth with an assist in the search for a new coach at Westminster High.
Bernie Koontz of Emmitsburg in Frederick County has been chosen as the new coach of the Owls, said Westminster High athletic directorJeff Oeming. Koontz already has visited the school to meet with prospective players.
Koontz replaces Dave Brown, who decided not to return as the girls basketball and golf coach at Westminster. Brown said earlier this fall that he stepped down from both jobs to spend more time with his family, adding that his oldest child is starting to get involved in athletics.
A 1985 graduate of Catoctin High, Koontz played varsity football, basketball and track for the Cougars and played Babe Ruth baseball in the summer. His basketball coaching experience includes a year as a graduate assistant for the Frostburg State men's team and a year as the boys freshman coach at Catoctin.
Koontz earned a bachelor's degree in health and physical education at Frostburg, in Allegany County. He also was a three-year member of the Frostburg football team.
But perhaps the most intriguing entry on the Koontz resume comes in a sport not usually associated with males -- at least not in the United States. Koontz is in his second year as head field hockey coach at Frederick High, has played club field hockey and even tried out for the U.S. national team.
Ironically, Koontz coached againstsome of his soon-to-be Owls players Tuesday when Westminster defeated Frederick, 1-0, in field hockey.
Koontz said he found out about the job opening at Westminster from Hollingsworth. The two had gottento know each other after working at several basketball camps at Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Koontz said.
The Westminster team finished at 9-12 a year ago with just one senior on the team, which means Koontz should have an experienced squad ready when practice for winter sports teams begins Nov. 15.
"They seem to be very enthusiastic," Koontz said of the Westminster girls. "They're going to beas successful as they want to be because I will be willing to put inthe hours needed to work with them."
Koontz said North Carroll High graduate Michelle Salafia, the Westminster freshman coach last year, will become the junior varsity coach this season. He said the school still is searching for a freshman coach.
The 23-year-old said that he is looking for a physical education teaching job in the regionand that sports is his primary hobby.
"That's me, that's my life," he said.
The change at Westminster apparently is the only head coaching change in the county this winter. Over the summer, Earl Hersh, the county supervisor of physical education and athletics, said no other head coaching jobs for the winter were vacant.