For all but a few high school football teams, the fall sports season is over. The winter season starts this afternoon when basketball practice begins throughout the state with a number of new coaches.
The turnover has hit Prince George's County especially hard with seven new girls and four boys coaches. Friendly's Roy Henderson, the dean of county coaches, retired after last season and High Point's Al Moraz now is an assistant coach at Navy. Bob Lynch (Friendly) and Marvin Vann (High Point) have taken over. The other two new boys coaches are Artie Walker, who replaces Ducky Vaughan at DuVal, and John Tinker, the new Laurel coach since John Kilpatrick was transferred to Bowie.
On the girls side, more than one-third of the county's coaches are new, including Scott Thomas (Central), Walter Clark (DuVal), Chris Green (Douglass), Ken Griffin (High Point), Lil Medas (Largo), Ray Richards (Potomac) and Bernard Shaw (Parkdale), who'll be replacing former Maryland star Kris Kirchner.
In contrast, nearly everyone stayed put in Montgomery County, where only one boys coach (Dick Wagner at Northwood) and three girls coaches (Dino Diaminidis at Gaithersburg; Roxanne Cerrado at Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Roy Abedon at Poolesville) were named.
Hal Templeton, the Walter Johnson boys coach who missed last season due to a serious foot injury, has returned to his coaching duties (Wagner served as interim coach at Walter Johnson last year.)
Finally, Roy Lester's luck has changed. After three years of 9-1, 8-2 and 9-1 records that failed to make the state football playoffs, Magruder has managed to land a Class B postseason berth. It took an upset loss by Allegany to Fort Hill, a team Magruder defeated two weeks ago, 30-2, to do it, but he is not complaining.
"I'm very happy for the kids," said Lester, a local coaching legend who led Paint Branch to a Class B state title in 1975. "I think (Magruder) deserves to go. I'm sorry it took Allegany to lose for us to make it, but that's the way these things go sometimes.
"We don't have any superstars or weak links. This is just a good solid football team. The kids have worked very hard for this opportunity. Now it's up to them to make the most of it."
Other local teams to make the state footblall playoffs include Churchill, Oxon Hill and Annapolis in Class AA, Kennedy in Class A and defending champion McDonough in Class B.
Montgomery County has decided to play its regional basketball playoffs at permanent sites. Beginning this winter, Whitman will host the Class AA regional playoffs and Blair will host the Class A regional tournament.
"We're trying this to effect more of a tournament atmosphere," said the county supervisor of athletics, Bill Kyle. "It takes away the home-court advantage for the top teams, but it should make the whole regional playoff package stronger."
St. John's is looking for a new lacrosse coach. Call Athletic Director Joe Gallagher at 686-0151 for information.