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Falcons have three coaching positions to fill


By Jeremy Stafford - jstafford@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- Of the four Central teams that reached the Region B tournament this past spring, three of them will sport new coaches in 2011.

Since the end of the academic year, Falcons girls soccer coach Duff Rice, boys tennis coach Jeff Walters and softball coach Jill Yew have all resigned. None of the positions have yet been filled.

For Rice, the decision to step away from Central was especially difficult. He and his wife are expecting their first child in about a month, and Rice wanted to free up some time to spend with his growing family.

Since he first heard his wife was pregnant, Rice had considered resigning.

What made the decision difficult, especially in the months leading up to his conclusion, was the Falcons' stunning postseason success.

Central, which slogged through its 2008-09 seasons playing in the Northwestern District, advanced to the Region B tournament semifinals in May, and was a game shy of a Group A state tournament berth.

"That did not make it any easier for me, with the success we had, and with the hardships we had before," said Rice, who coached Central to a 9-9-1 record. "It was difficult to go, but it was something I needed to do.

"... I talked to a couple different coaches about having their children when they were coaching, and they missed out on a few things, and that's not something I wanted to do."

Central will return three All-Shenandoah District players in 2011: Rising juniors Katie Philpott (15 goals, two assists) and Theresa Barela, and rising sophomore Katie Bennett (four goals, four assists).

Walters and Yew were not immediately available for comment.

Rice said that Walters has become Central's assistant athletic director, a position he will fill under new athletic director Kenny Rinker.

This past spring, Walters coached Central's boys tennis team to a Shenandoah District regular season title and the Region B tournament semifinals. Ethan Wilson, Central's No. 1 singles player, advanced to the Region B individual singles final.

Rice said that Yew also stepped down to spend time with her family. Both teach at Peter Muhlenberg Middle School, and they often discussed with each other their intentions to resign.

Central's softball team capped Yew's final season with a 10-7 record and advanced to the Region B quarterfinals.

In 2006, Yew's first season with the Falcons, Central went winless. Last season Central didn't advance past the Northwestern District tournament quarterfinals.

Unlike Central's girls soccer team, though, the Falcons' softball team loses its best player. Brea Hinegardner, whose .519 batting average led the area and whose 1.18 ERA was third best in the area, graduated in the spring.



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