One of the county's four new public high school football coaches clearly is different from the rest. While three are just beginning their initial seasons as head coaches, new Central coach Robert Cashwell brings more than four decades of experience with him.
Cashwell, 66, retired in January from his job as a vice principal at Gwynn Park High School. It took him less than seven months to figure out that retirement did not suit him. So when Henry Frazier was named head coach at Bowie State University in July, opening the job at Central, Cashwell applied. In addition to coaching, Cashwell will teach physical education at Central; under a new school system plan, he will be paid a full-time salary for teaching and will continue to draw his pension as a retired administrator.
"I had to find something to do," Cashwell said. "I'm not a sit-around kind of person. I came back to the system to be around people who are doing things. And the kids are the people who are doing things."
Cashwell's last season as a head coach was in 1972 at Fairmont Heights. Since then, he has been an assistant coach for a college team (Bowie State), a high school team (Oxon Hill) and a minor league professional team (Washington Stonewalls) and coached at the Oxon Hill Boys and Girls Club.
While Cashwell will have to adjust to being in control again, first-time head coaches Byron Stewart (Surrattsville), Joe Lewis (DuVal) and Eric Wade (Largo) are learning what it is like to be in charge.
"They should have told me all of the things involved in being a head coach," said Lewis, the defensive coordinator at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda the previous seven seasons. "It's just little things here and there. You just have questions to ask administrators and the athletic director because certain counties do things differently. It's a hassle because you're there every day in the summer and everybody else is on vacation."
As for Cashwell, he plans on winning. Asked about his record in his seven seasons at Fairmont Heights, he replied, "The only thing you need to know is the first year we lost seven straight games. And then we won the [league] title every year after that."
"There's a lot of talent in the school and a lot of talent in the coaching staff at the school," Cashwell added. "So we should be all right."
* Resides: Fort Washington
* Age: 43
* High school: Friendly, 1974
* College: Nebraska, 1978, B.S. in education
* Coaching experience: Eleanor Roosevelt High, running backs coach, 1979; Friendly High, running backs coach, 1998.
* Resides: Fort Washington
* Age: 66
* High School: Bolling, Lewisburg, W. Va., 1950
* College: West Virginia State, 1957, B.S. in physical education and health
* Coaching experience: Ralph Bunch High School, King George, Va., head coach, 1957 to 1961; Union High School, Caroline, Va., head coach, 1961 to 1965; Fairmont Heights High School, head coach, 1966 to 1972; Bowie State University, defensive coordinator, 1973 to 1978; Washington Stonewalls (minor league football), defensive coordinator, 1979 to 1982, 1995 to 1997; Oxon Hill High School, defensive coordinator, 1987 to 1991.
* Resides: Elkridge
* Age: 31
* High school: Oakland Mills, 1986
* College: Temple, 1991, B.S. in health and physical education
* Coaching experience: Walter Johnson High, defensive coordinator, 1992 to 1998
* Resides: Mitchellville
* Age: 37
* High school: Largo, 1979
* College: Syracuse, 1983 B.A. in speech communications
* Coaching experience: Largo High, junior varsity assistant coach, 1986; junior varsity head coach, 1987 to 1988; assistant varsity coach 1989 to present