Van Deusen ends football tenure

River Hill AD finishes 28-year coaching career

successor will be son Brian

January 19, 2000|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

The face of football in Howard County continues to change.

River Hill athletic director Don Van Deusen is ending a 28-year football coaching career and handing the reins to his 25-year-old son, Brian.

Van Deusen, 54, who will remain as athletic director and physical education teacher, is the second veteran football coach to resign since the season ended. Hammond coach Joe Russo announced his resignation in November and was replaced by Bill Smith.

Van Deusen opened up River Hill four years ago, and the Hawks embarked immediately upon varsity competition. They've compiled an overall 16-24 record, contending for the county title and a playoff spot last season. They came up a little short at 7-3, losing their last two games.

"He's very competitive in a way that you could respect," said veteran Centennial coach Ed Holshue. "He was always extremely well-prepared, and even when they didn't have the best of teams, he got them motivated. They did all they were capable of doing, and more."

Van Deusen also coached for 21 seasons at Atholton and finishes with a career record of 133-116. His Atholton teams shared two county championships and made the playoffs in 1986.

After three years as an assistant at Howard, he became Atholton's head coach in 1974, and initiated a computer scouting program that was an innovation among county high school coaches.

"Jerry Lowe and I had started doing it when we were at Howard," Van Deusen said. "We bought an Ohio Scientific computer for $380. Jim Albert was our defensive coordinator, and he set up stunts based on computer information. It's something I always believed in."

Van Deusen, who played baseball in the New York Yankees farm system, also coached baseball and basketball at various times, winning county basketball titles at Howard in 1973 and at Atholton in 1976.

"I did all three sports a couple of years, but I liked coaching football the best because it was one game per week, and you got to do scouting and planning and make adjustments and then see how your planning turned out. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn't."

Atholton made the playoffs in 1986 behind quarterback Mark Carper, who also went on to play in the Yankees farm system.

Van Deusen said he'll miss the time spent with his assistant coaches. "Leaving football is different because other sports don't have as many assistant coaches," said Van Deusen.

"But doing football and being athletic director is tough at this stage in my career. There were times when I had to do AD stuff when I wanted to be coaching and times when I was coaching and should have been doing AD stuff. I feel good about the decision."

Van Deusen said he coached too many good players to single any out, but did mention the special, longtime contribution to Atholton's program made by statistician Paul Pfister.

Van Deusen called his son the logical choice for the job because he teaches in the school.

"He had a successful college career and has been coaching for four years at River Hill. It will be tough for him to do basketball and football, but the three varsity football assistant coaches, Rick Lloyd, Lance Evans and Mark Green, are staying and the program is in good shape."

Brian Van Deusen started for two years at varsity quarterback at Atholton and then had an outstanding four-year quarterback career at Western Maryland, where he holds 16 passing records.

He has coached football four seasons at River Hill, working with the offense. He teaches math and physical education.

"This was a surprise to me," Brian said. "We should be all right next year because we have five linemen and our quarterback returning. We'll stay with the wing-T but open it up."

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