Local high schools to debut 15 new varsity coaches in 2015-16 school year

After a fairly quiet ride on the proverbial coaching carousel a year ago, local public high school athletic directors have been busy over the last several months.

The coverage area’s six local high schools will feature 15 new varsity coaches for the 2015-16 academic year, more than doubling the six coaching changes from 2014.

No athletic director has had more varsity coaching positions to fill than Warren County High School’s Ed Dike, who had to find five head coach replacements as he wraps up his first full year at the school.

“I know some people have just decided they don’t want to coach,” Dike said Wednesday. “It takes a lot of time and you don’t get paid a whole lot.

“There’s a lot of people also that have left the county and have moved on to other jobs,” he added. “I mean, Loudoun County has picked up a bunch of our people.”

Dike, who estimated that he has had to fill 11 assistant coach/JV head coach positions in addition to the five varsity spots, said a lot of coaches in the area are lured away to bigger school districts such as Loudoun County by the overall draw of those areas.

“It’s insurance and better salary — it’s the whole thing,” he said. “Smaller school systems can’t try to battle Loudoun County because they can offer a whole lot more.”

Despite the multitude of positions to fill, Dike said the process “wasn’t that bad.” Of Warren County’s five varsity coaching vacancies, four were filled in house — assistant athletic director Dorinda Robinson, who served as the Wildcats’ JV volleyball coach under Sarah Putnam last year, will be the varsity volleyball coach this fall; varsity assistant Michael Minch will coach baseball as Vernon Mathews’ replacement; former JV girls soccer coach Shane Lilly will be the new boys soccer coach; and track and field coach Joseph Owens will now take over cross country as well.

Tony Clark, who replaces Mathews as Warren County’s varsity boys basketball coach, is the lone exception to the Wildcats’ in-house hires, as he arrives in Front Royal after serving as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Southern Virginia University last year.

Dike said the boys basketball position was the most difficult to fill this year because of the limited teaching openings in the Warren County Public Schools system and he was “ecstatic” when Clark was still available when a teaching opportunity did arise.

“He’s a wonderful find,” Dike said of Clark, whose previous high school basketball coaching experiences include stints at King George, Lafayette and Fort Defiance (girls basketball) high schools.

Skyline and Central high schools will each introduce three new varsity head coaches this coming year.

Skyline has already filled two of the three positions, as former softball assistant John Ritter will replace Frank Nelson as the program’s head coach, while Josh Brown will coach boys tennis. The Hawks have yet to find a new boys basketball coach to replace Jacob Bates as of Wednesday morning, Skyline athletic director Bill Cupp said in an email.

Central, which saw the girls basketball and girls tennis positions open up with the resignation of Mallory Skarupa, has hired Shanna McComb-Beveridge as the new girls basketball coach, and athletic director Kenny Rinker said the school has coaching candidates lined up for girls tennis and competition cheer who are awaiting approval from the Shenandoah County school board.

“We’ve been fortunate with the ones we’ve got,” Rinker said Tuesday. “We’ve got a few holes we’ve got to fill but we felt the biggest was basketball. … We felt like we made a very good decision with the entire staff.”

Stonewall Jackson and Strasburg high schools each had two varsity coaching vacancies open up, and Stonewall has already filled both of its openings. Jay Goode will take over Stonewall Jackson’s football program as he replaces longtime coach Dick Krol, while David Fowler was named the Generals’ new boys basketball coach.

Strasburg has found a replacement for longtime girls basketball coach Joel Morgan but is awaiting school board approval, athletic director Matt Hiserman said, while the Rams’ track and field job remains open as of Monday afternoon.

Sherando athletic director Jason Barbe said he continues to be “blessed” as the Warriors retain their entire varsity head coaching staff from a season ago.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com