For DuVall, one final season

varsity football

August 26, 2008|By Sandra McKee

Wilde Lake football coach Doug DuVall said this, his 36th season, would be his last one coaching the Wildecats.

"I remember, when I started coaching, I just wanted to win my first game," he said yesterday, between classes at the school where he began his career in 1972. "Then I wanted to win 100, then 200, now 300. But you should never spend your whole career in one place."

That thought and others first came to him when his friend, the late Dunbar coach Ben Eaton, died suddenly in August 2007.

"Ben sent a pretty clear message," DuVall said. "Everything has a rhythm and a time. I need to enjoy my life. Spend time with Jan [his wife] and our family. Coaching is a consuming lifestyle. Coaching football is a 12-month, eight-hour-a-day job. I'm looking to do something a little less demanding."

DuVall said he had not planned to announce that he is retiring - or even thinking about it. But he mentioned it to a lifelong friend, who happened to work for the Columbia Flier, and word began to spread.

"I didn't want it out, but now that it is, I think it is a good thing," DuVall said, noting that he can now concentrate on coaching Wilde Lake, which opens its season Sept. 5 against Long Reach.

Going into this season, his teams have won 296 games, five state championships, the last in 1997, and 20 Howard County titles.

"The best memories are just of all the kids I've coached," he said. "Some of them, I'm coaching their kids here now. The relationships and friendships mean more and are more important to me than any win."

DuVall said he might look into doing volunteer work with the Chesapeake Bay or the Living Classroom foundations.

"I'm 60 years old," he said. "I've always loved working with kids, and there's nothing to say I won't coach again, maybe on the college level. Or maybe I'll go into business. I'm just going to take some time and figure it out."

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