Central and Strasburg high schools saw a pair of long-tenured boys soccer coaches depart, while Stonewall Jackson Athletic Director Mike Lenox had to fill five varsity head coaching vacancies as part of the coaching turnover between the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years.
Ted Poor, who coached Central’s boys soccer team for 10 seasons, and Joel Ross, who held that same position for that same length of time at Strasburg, each tendered their resignations at the end of the 2019 season, sending athletic directors at both schools into a search for new boys soccer coaches for the first time in a decade.
Lenox was the busiest of the three Shenandoah County Public Schools athletic directors, as he had to find new head coaches for baseball, softball, golf, girls tennis and cheerleading ahead of the new school year.
Brady Kibler fills two of those roles, as he’ll be the Generals’ new golf coach and baseball coach in 2019-20. Lenox said Ashley Nicholson will serve as Stonewall’s softball coach, Isaac Brunk is the new head of the girls tennis program and Belinda Tusing takes over as the competition cheer coach.
“I feel really good about who we got to replace who we had,” Lenox said last week. “I mean, we had some good people there before and I think we’re kind of just picking up where we left off with the people that we put there.”
Kibler, a Strasburg High School grad, was appointed as Stonewall’s new golf coach in February. He replaces Steve Burkholder, who coached the Generals for three seasons and led Stonewall to a third-place finish in the Virginia High School League Group 1A state tournament during his first season in 2016.
Kibler, a physical education teacher at North Fork Middle School, added head baseball coach to his list of responsibilities when he was approved to replace Jeremy Knight in June. Knight, who replaced Lenox after the latter led the Generals to the Group 1A state championship game in 2017, led Stonewall to two Region 1B tournament semifinals in his two seasons as head coach.
“Brady’s gonna do a real good job with golf and baseball, especially with the younger kids as he works in the middle school,” Lenox said. “Brady has been volunteering for the past two years with baseball and hopefully that’ll be a seamless transition from what we had to there, as the kids already know him and what the expectations are.”
Strasburg AD Matt Hiserman had just one varsity head coaching vacancy to fill this summer and landed Betsy Munson, who guided Clarke County to tremendous success in the mid-2000s, to replace Ross as the Rams’ boys soccer coach.
Munson coached Clarke County from 2001-2007, guiding the Eagles to four straight regional titles and back-to-back Group A state championships in 2005 and 2006. Under Munson, Clarke County reached the state title game in four consecutive seasons from 2003-06.
Munson most recently coached at Heritage (Leesburg), a Class 4 school, from 2008-2018 and led the Pride to four regional tournament appearances. Munson has 192 career high school coaching wins.
“She’s obviously been a very successful coach everywhere she’s been,” Hiserman said.
Strasburg’s boys soccer team struggled to find consistent success in 10 seasons under Ross, but the former head coach did lead the Rams to the Region 2B tournament in his final two seasons.
“I know the (playoff) format’s changed over the years, but the last two years they’ve been able to get in the regional tournament, which are the first two regional tournament berths that we’ve had, which is obviously a step in the right direction,” Hiserman said. “They were really, really young this year. (Ross) being a teacher, being in the building has obviously helped because he’s around those kids a little bit more, he was able to build the program up and have some consistency among not only himself but his assistant coaches.
“Joel really didn’t want to get out,” Hiserman added, “but they had another kid and it’s their third kid, so times change a little bit and he has to look after his family first.”
Ross’ counterpart, Poor, led Central’s boys soccer team to five regional tournament appearances in his 10 seasons at the helm. Poor departs the program having led the Falcons to the regional tournament four straight seasons.
“He’s built up a great program,” Central Athletic Director Justin Broughman said, adding that he’ll begin the search for Poor’s replacement once the school year starts. “He’s very knowledgeable of the sport. He’s able to pass that knowledge on to kids. He has such a passion for it. He’s been a mainstay here for so long that he is someone that he is gonna miss. He is going to stay in the area and he mentioned to me that he wouldn’t mind helping out when he could, volunteering or providing advice to the new coach. Hopefully, we’ll still have him around in some capacity.”
Earlier in the year, Broughman hired Ashlie Clar, a 2012 Stonewall Jackson grad, as the school’s new volleyball coach.
Central also is looking for a new golf coach for the third straight season. Broughman said last Friday that he had interviews lined up with a couple of candidates this week and hopes to have the position filled soon with the start of the 2019 season closing in.