Ex-Gaels coach Sparks taking Northeast football job


August 10, 2007|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun reporter

Hal Sparks, a Mount St. Joseph Hall of Fame member who hasn't coached since 1980, will become coach of Northeast's football team.

Eagles athletic director Marianne Shultz will make the announcement today. Sparks, 66, replaces Mike Cotham, whose contract was not renewed after seven seasons.

"I'm excited to get back, " said Sparks, who has worked in fundraising and real estate the past 27 years after leaving Mount St. Joseph, where he was a coach and physical education teacher.

"This is something I've wanted to do, and when I saw that Northeast had an opening, I decided to apply. They were 1-9 last year, and I intend to turn that around. I think I bring creditability and a lot of passion to the program."

Sparks, who resides in Pasadena and runs a youth outreach program in Baltimore, coached three very successful teams in the old Maryland Scholastic Association (now the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference) at Mount St. Joseph, winning titles in football, wrestling and baseball during the 1970s.

He also coached the UMBC wrestling and baseball teams in the late 1970s before returning to Mount St. Joseph in 1978.

His Gaels football teams were 27-13-1 in four seasons after he served five years as an assistant. He built the powerhouse Gaels wrestling program, going 57-7 over five seasons, and the tradition continues.

Sparks' baseball teams were dominant in the area, going 188-12 over nine seasons and 23-1 in his final season in 1980.

"I think you measure success by the amount of kids who go to school at the next level and who become good citizens in the community, " Sparks said.


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