Dan Meier, who retired April 1 as Robinson principal, will return to the school in a new position— interim head football coach.
Meier, 58, who guided West Potomac and Chantilly to state titles before leaving coaching in the summer of 1997 to enter administration, was named coach Friday and met with the Rams after school. As principal, he had dismissed the previous coach, Trey Taylor, in November.
Robinson Athletic Director Jeff Ferrell said administrators at the school asked Meier to take on the role as interim coach while the school awaits a new principal who could either retain Meier or bring in another coach. Meier was not one of the original candidates who sought the position during interviews in January.
“We thought we were going to have [a new principal] in February, but they have reopened the position, so we’re kind of in limbo, so to speak,” Ferrell said. “He’s interim because we want whoever our principal is to have the right [to hire someone else] if that person wants somebody different.
“We needed someone to get the ball rolling, someone with experience. So we asked him if he’d be able to take it on. Once a principal is named, who knows what the future holds. But I think we got a pretty good guy.”
Meier compiled a 47-12 record at Chantilly and coached the Chargers to the Virginia AAA Division 6 title in 1996. In seven seasons at West Potomac, Meier’s teams went 68-16 with a Division 6 title in 1989 and a Division 5 crown in 1990.
Meier said he told the team in the meeting Friday that he planned to approach the job as if he would be the head coach for the next 10 years, despite the interim tag.
“Certainly, if the new principal comes in and wants to do something different, I’m fine with that,” Meier said. “One of the reasons I retired in April was because many of the big decisions for a principal for the following year are made in April, May and June. I think the next person should be the one making those decisions.”
Meier said his first task would be hiring a staff — he counts six former assistants as current head coaches in Northern Virginia — and organizing offseason workouts. The Rams open against Lake Braddock at home Aug. 31.
Meier said that some of those former assistants had inquired about him joining their staffs when he retired from administration, and that got him thinking more seriously about returning to the sideline.
“First, my wife said I could never be an assistant for anybody,” Meier said. “Secondly, I could not coach against Robinson. I was principal there for 10 years and I just couldn’t do it. It’s my school, and my kids played there.”
As Robinson principal, Meier hired Taylor two years ago and dismissed him in November. Taylor’s teams went 9-13 with two first-round losses in the Division 6 region playoffs, including 56-21 to Chantilly this past season.
Taylor at the time said that he was surprised by the firing and thought the program was moving in the right direction.
One of Robinson’s top returning players is junior running back Joe Wilson, who rushed for an area-high 2,358 yards and 33 touchdowns last season. He said everyone was “surprised and shocked, and excited” when Meier was introduced as coach Friday afternoon.
“I think it will be a good opportunity for Robinson to get on track with winning football games,” Wilson said. “It will be a great new start.”