Dominion High School football coach Bill Holt said his age and experience -- he's 56 years old and has a 33-year career -- should not indicate that he plans a short stay with the new program.
"I see [Florida State Coach] Bobby Bowden and [Penn State Coach] Joe Paterno are in their 70s, and they're doing fine," said Holt, who was hired Wednesday by the Loudoun County School Board. "I'm looking to stay around here for a while."
Holt will start the eighth football program in Loudoun County when Dominion opens in Sterling in August. It will draw students from Park View and Potomac Falls.
This will be the seventh coaching stop for Holt, who spent the past two seasons at Stuart, a Fairfax County program that is winless since September 2000 and has struggled for much of the past decade. Holt began as an assistant at Stonewall Jackson in 1971 and coached at two Norfolk-area schools -- Granby and Booker T. Washington -- and two Orlando schools before arriving at Stuart in 2001.
His ties to Dominion stem from working with Titans Athletic Director Joe Fleming, who held the same position at Stuart from 2000-02.
Unlike Stone Bridge and Heritage, recent new schools that began with independent schedules, Dominion will play a AA Dulles District slate right away.
"I know it's one of the most competitive double A districts in the state," Holt said, "and I know it's a run-oriented district."
If Holt runs the Titans like many of his past teams, they will certainly be unique in the district. Holt's offense is more predicated on the pass, a sharp difference from most of the other teams, which run the wing-T or a variation of it.
Holt said 12 of his quarterbacks have played for Division I programs, most notably University of Pennsylvania senior Mike Mitchell, a first team All-Ivy League selection last season, and Brandon Blake, younger brother of Arizona Cardinals quarterback Jeff Blake.
Nevertheless, Holt realizes that his system may not necessarily be a good fit for a program that will begin almost entirely with freshmen and sophomores.
"I've run a predominantly passing system," Holt said. "We've aired the ball out, but that doesn't mean that that's what we're going to do. I'm not going to force something down their throats."
Boys, Girls Tournament at Park View
The Park View boys' and girls' basketball teams will make the best of shared gymnasium time and space next winter by co-hosting a holiday tournament.
The Community Bank/Patriots Holiday Classic will feature boys' and girls' basketball teams from Park View, Varina of Richmond, Thomas Johnson (Md.) and Jefferson (W.Va.) on Dec. 26-27, with two boys' and two girls' games each night.
"I've worked on it for probably six weeks," said Meredith Polen, Park View's assistant athletic director. "It was difficult . . . but we're excited."
Lining up boys' and girls' teams from the same school proved to be the hardest task, Polen added. Some schools were willing to send one, but the other often already was committed to another tournament.
The Virginia High School League moved girls' basketball, volleyball and tennis so every public school will play the same sports in the same seasons.
Staff writer Drew vanEsselstyn contributed to this report.