After being announced last week as DuVal High's new football coach, Joe Lewis knows he has little time to prepare for the upcoming season. With just 10 days until practice begins on Aug. 14, Lewis must quickly assemble a coaching staff and assess the Lanham school's personnel.
While that might seem like a difficult task, Lewis, 31, thinks he already is off to a good start. After spending the past seven seasons as the defensive coordinator for Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Lewis is bringing two other members of the Wildcats' coaching staff with him, including James Lavrusky, the former coach at St. John's. Lewis said he has met many players and that former DuVal assistant coach Andy Brady has helped the players maintain a training regimen throughout the summer.
Mike McCullough, who played for Lavrusky at Montgomery College-Rockville, also is moving with Lewis to DuVal. He will coach running backs and defensive backs.
"We expect to win," said Lewis, one of two football coaches appointed last week (Robert Cashwell, the former Fairmont Heights coach, is the new coach at Central). "We have a short amount of time; I have three weeks for my staff to get acclimated. My understanding is we have some great athletes coming back."
Lewis, a special education teacher at High Bridge Elementary School in Bowie, said he had been seeking a head coaching position in Prince George's County without success until recently. He learned of the opening at DuVal only when Friendly Athletic Director Pat Harris-Paxson passed Lewis's name to school officials at DuVal.
Lewis replaces Steve Lindsay, who resigned last month to take a teaching position at Thomas Stone High School in Charles County.
DuVal was 4-6 last season, but Lewis is accustomed to trying to turn around struggling programs. Walter Johnson, traditionally one of the weaker programs in Montgomery County, went 8-2 last season and narrowly missed qualifying for the state playoffs.
"That builds our hopes up," said Lewis, a 1986 graduate of Oakland Mills High School in Columbia who played outside linebacker at Temple University. "Walter Johnson hasn't been a perennial power, but last year we were able to take the team and basically do the opposite. We were 2-8 the year before and 8-2 last year and the two games we lost, we actually should have won. At DuVal, the difference is we have more speed all the way around."