Facing surgery, Storch steps down at Howard

November 16, 1992|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

Rudy Storch, a college professor from Brooklyn who taught suburban kids a blue-collar style of soccer, said goodbye to his Howard High boys team at a banquet last night.

Storch, whose 1989 Howard team won a state Class 3A co-championship and finished the season undefeated (15-0-1) and ranked No. 3 in the nation, will be operated on at University Hospital today for prostate cancer.

He expects to make a full recovery, but cited the illness, an increase in responsibility as Ancient Studies Department chairman at UMBC and a need to step off the coaching treadmill as reasons for his resignation.

Storch, 53, took over a stagnant soccer program and rejuvenated it during seven seasons at Howard. Under him, the team compiled a 60-26-6 record, winning one state and two county titles.

He elevated Howard's soccer program "to the next level," athletic director Vince Parnell said. "People don't realize how hard that was to do."

Storch believed in teaching his players that they had to earn whatever they received. He was a no-frills coach whose team played in T-shirts and gym shorts.

He thought suburban kids spent too much time worrying about fancy uniforms and soccer balls.

Storch instilled a tough work ethic and made his players believe they could play as well or better than the county's traditional soccer heavyweights, Centennial and Oakland Mills. And sometimes they did.

"My greatest pleasure is getting a player to play better than he is," said Storch, who would like to coach a national championship girls team someday. "And I think I've done that in some big games over the years."

Storch began coaching at Howard in 1986, and the team posted a 4-7-1 record -- its only losing season under him.

Howard first reached a higher level in 1988, going 10-2-1.

In 1989 came the dream season, led by Todd Haskins, who scored 31 goals and became the National Gatorade Player of the Year. Howard outscored its opponents, 73-13.

Storch became sort of a folk hero, with Howard fans chanting his name at the end of games.

The following season Howard went 11-1-1, winning a county title but losing in the regional semifinal.

"Rudy put Howard athletics back on the map," Centennial coach Bill Stara said. "When you mention Howard High, the soccer program is the first thing that comes to mind."

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