Eckhardt will step down at season's end


September 06, 2001|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Earl Eckhardt, who led Chesapeake to the 1998 Class 4A state championship in boys soccer with a 17-3 record, will retire after this, his 16th season as head coach at the Lake Shore school.

One of the county's most respected and popular coaches, Eckhardt has a career record of 135-72-9, including Tuesday' 1-0 season-opening victory over No. 12 ranked Severna Park.

"I made up my mind over the summer that this would be it as a coach," said Eckhardt, 57. "I didn't want to make an official announcement or have a Cal Ripken grand tour or anything. Rather than wait until the end of the season, I may as well tell people now."

Eckhardt has been a county school teacher for 36 years and said he may work one more year in that capacity.

Chesapeake was 14-0 in the Anne Arundel County regular season last fall but was upset in both the county title game and the 4A East Region semifinals to finish 15-2 overall.

"We expect to be back in the county championship this year, and that [Tuesday's win over Severna Park] was a great way to start this season," said Eckhardt.

Since the county championship game began in 1994, Eckhardt's Cougars missed only the 1996 game. Chesapeake and Severna Park shared the inaugural title (3-3 double overtime), but Chesapeake won it three times (1999, '97, '95) and has been runner-up twice (2000, '98).

Falcon alumni

Severna Park's 27-year boys soccer coach, Don Gregg, is putting the call out for former players to play in a Falcon alumni game at 3 p.m. Saturday as part of the 5th Fall Classic. South River, St. Mary's and Spalding will join the Falcons for games at 5:15 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. tomorrow. On Saturday, the JV teams will play at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., the alumni at 3 and the varsities at 5:15 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Alumni may call Gregg at 410-544-0900.

By the rules

Billy Warren, a former Andover standout athlete who is considered to be one of Maryland's top soccer and basketball officials, is the new State Rules Interpreter for soccer. He replaces Steve Malone who retired. ... Six-foot-7 Brian Barber, an Annapolis All-County forward who went on to star at Towson University, is playing pro basketball in Norway. ... Derek Dixon, an All-Metro outfielder at Severna Park in 2000, has transferred from UNC-Charlotte to Towson University. ... Glen Burnie's Allen Strick, a two-time All-Metro shortstop at Mount St. Joseph, batted .310 at Old Dominion and was named third-team freshman All-American during the summer.

Have a note for Sidelines? E-mail or call Pat O'Malley's 24-hour Sportsline at 410-647-2499.

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