Hibberd steps down as F. S. Key coach Veteran is hanging it up after 16 years with Eagles

Boys soccer

November 14, 1997|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Francis Scott Key boys soccer coach G. Hibberd still enjoys the competition after 16 years. He continues to love what happens during each game and how he's a part of it.

But Hibberd also feels that it's time to enjoy some other things life and so, after 16 years and two state championships, the 50-year old Eagles coach is stepping down.

Hibberd took over the varsity team in 1982 and won back-to-back Class C (now 1A) state championships in 1985 and 1986. Under Hibberd the Eagles always seemed to play well in the playoffs. For instance, they went 5-8-1 this year but made the region semifinals -- after going 4-9-2 last season and making the region final.

Hibberd said he had made up his mind during the season to retire, but didn't want to say anything until afterward.

"The season's about the kids. It's not about the coach," said Hibberd. "It was a nice group of seniors that I dealt with over the last few years. Even though our record wasn't what I had hoped, we kept playing good soccer."

Key always had to play against larger schools over the years, which accounts for the team's 95-108-13 mark under Hibberd. In fact, the Eagles were just 5-5-2 in the regular season en route to the 1985 title. They followed that with a 6-6 regular season while taking the championship again the next year.

Hibberd has left his mark on Carroll County soccer. North Carroll boys coach Denny Snyder, Key girls coach Joe Linthicum and former long-time Westminster boys coach Chuck Beaver all worked under Hibberd.

Snyder said he learned much from Hibberd, despite coaching just one year under him.

"He's just a great coach," said Snyder. "I was so lucky to work with him."

Key assistant coach David Storey appears to be the leading candidate for Hibberd's job. Storey has worked with Hibberd the past three years -- long after scoring the winning goal in the Eagles' 1-0 victory over Pocomoke in the 1985 state title game.

School officials will make that decision next spring.

For now, however, Hibberd will concentrate on other things. He's thinking about writing a book and spending more time on the golf course.

Hibberd said he will miss the relationships with players -- "they last beyond the seasons" -- but felt this was the time to step down.

"The way I look at it, I've had a pretty good run over these 16 years," he said. "I didn't want to go out on a real bad note, and I enjoyed the ending of this season. It's time."

Pub Date: 11/14/97

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