Wrestling teams changing coaches


September 28, 1994|By RICK BELZ

Wrestling is one of -- if not the -- toughest high school sport to coach. Long hours indoors, missed holiday time with families, a long season and all-day weekend tournaments create high coaching turnover.

Three schools will have new wrestling coaches this winter, including defending county champion Hammond, where Bill Smith has turned over the program to Jeff Starnes.

At Howard, Fred Bullock has stepped down and Joe Thomas is taking over. And Glenelg has vacancies for varsity and jayvee coaches.

Starnes is no stranger to Hammond wrestling. He was head coach from 1982 to 1990, when he left to take a job in Texas. Smith was his assistant coach.

Starnes, 33, a standout fullback and wrestler for Wilde Lake during the 1970s, returned to the county last spring and is also an assistant football coach at Glenelg.

"I missed coaching," Starnes said. "While I was in Texas, I was a football referee for four years."

The Hammond wrestling program won a regional title under Starnes in 1990 and generally fared well.

Thomas, a math teacher at Howard, also is no stranger in county wrestling circles. He was varsity coach at Glenelg in 1989 and 1990. He replaces Bullock, who is head of the social studies department at Southwestern High in Baltimore.

Thomas, 29, was jayvee football coach at Howard for six years and is assistant varsity coach this season. He also did a two-year stint as assistant wrestling coach at Western Maryland College.

And in 1992 he coached the girls varsity outdoor track team to a state Class 3A championship.

"Joe is a proven winner," said Howard athletic director Vince Parnell. "I'm sorry to lose Fred because the kids loved him. He put the program on a strong footing and he really cared about the kids. But Joe will keep it where it is or improve it, and it will be helpful having a coach in the building."

Anyone interested in coaching wrestling at Glenelg can call athletic director Mike Williams at (410) 313-5539.

Eastern Shore thriller

Atholton finished its nonleague football season at 3-0 but had to win a thriller against Stephen Decatur Friday night, 14-10.

Atholton scored two touchdowns within 30 seconds in the second quarter. Both times fumble recoveries by Jon Sanford deep in Stephen Decatur territory set up the scores. Levar Macon made a big hit to cause one of the fumbles.

Stephen Deactur nearly scored in the first half on a 45-yard pass play, but Jamie Burford caught the receiver from behind and stripped the ball at the 1-yard line and Chad Patterson recovered it.

During the second half Atholton was hurt by poor field position and Stephen Decatur dominated, scoring on a safety, an option pass and a two-point conversion.

Jason Sander stopped another Stephen Decatur drive with an interception at the 1-yard line.

Atholton ran out the clock at the end of the game and had a touchdown nullified by a penalty.

Seven extra points

Not many high school kickers get a chance to kick seven extra points in one game, but Centennial's second-string kicker, John Woods, made seven last week. Woods could have had eight but missed his first try.

Woods got his chance to kick when Centennial's starting kicker, Scott Bross, broke his leg during a practice two days before the Eagles were scheduled to play a Sept. 16 game against South Carroll.

Woods had a rough initiation, missing all three of his extra-point kicks during the South Carroll game.

"He wasn't keeping his head down and wasn't hitting the ball squarely," Centennial coach Ed Holshue said. "He's got a good leg. It might even be a little stronger than Bross' leg. He just needed some repetitions."

If Centennial keeps on scoring eight touchdowns per game, Woods will get plenty of repetitions.

Tough week

Atholton's boys soccer team had to be the most frustrated team in town last week. The Raiders were champing at the bit to play after splitting their first two games.

But on Thursday, storms postponed their game against Gonzaga. And their Saturday game against Freehold, N.J., which was to be an overnight trip, was canceled because the school already had three other games scheduled that week.

"They had gotten a new athletic director this summer, and he just messed up big time," Atholton coach Reg Hahne said.

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