Woodbridge boys' soccer coach Bill Lanza, who led the Vikings to the Virginia AAA state championship in 1996, has stepped down to take an administrative position with the Prince William County schools' central office.
In another boys' soccer move, first-year Gar-Field coach Tom Kraft is leaving for a job out of state after guiding the Indians to their first regular season district title since 1981.
Lanza coached Woodbridge for 10 seasons. The Vikings, state titlists in 1984, had lost in state championship games in 1985, 1988, 1989, 1991 and 1992 before pulling out a 1-0 win over Clover Hill in 1996 by scoring with 18 seconds left to cap a 17-1-2 season.
"It's a huge loss," Woodbridge Activities Director Michelle Heindrichs said. "He was a huge asset to the program, and the boys respected him. He did a lot of great things there. That was a sad day, I think, for both of us, and I don't think it was an easy decision for him. I know he took a long time to think about that."
Kraft, a 1994 Gar-Field graduate and 2004 All-Extra Coach of the Year, took over the program at his alma mater after serving as junior varsity coach for three years. The team began the season 1-5-2 before rattling off nine straight wins to win both the Cardinal District regular season and tournament titles. The Indians (10-6-2) lost in the Northwestern Region semifinals, one victory shy of a state tournament berth.
Kraft and his wife are moving to Raleigh, N.C., where he will be junior varsity soccer coach at Enloe High School.
"We knew all along that he was at some point looking to move out of the area, even when he took the [Gar-Field] job," said Gar-Field Activities Director Rudy Zimmermann, Kraft's predecessor as soccer coach. "We were kind of hoping maybe he'd stick around. One of the reasons we hired him was because he's such great role model and has such a love for the game, we figured he'd be successful in whatever way you measure that, and he certainly was successful."
Kraft said he encountered several seconds of stunned silence after he broke the news to his players, most of whom he also had coached first on the junior varsity.
"After an uncomfortable pause for about 10 seconds, somebody said, 'You're joking, right?' " Kraft said. "I was almost getting emotional because these kids did some special things this year.
"I have a lot of family who live around here, so I told the kids they better keep this winning going on because I'm going to come back [to visit]. It's going to be difficult to watch them play next year, but I expect them to pick up where they left off."
Manassas Park Names New AD
Manassas Park has named Mike Peters its new activities director. Peters has taught at the school for six years and has helped coach football, track and wrestling.
Peters replaces Randy West, who left after two years to become AD at Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke.
Peters, a 1993 Gar-Field graduate, started his new job Thursday.
One of Peters's first tasks will be to find a new softball coach. Melissa Pitts, whose 11-year tenure included a Virginia A state title in 2000, stepped down to become an assistant principal at Manassas Park Middle School. Pitts's teams qualified for the Region B tournament eight times. The Cougars won the region title this spring.
Eleven county athletes, all departing seniors, will compete this week for the West teams against the East in various Virginia High School Coaches Association all-star games in the Hampton area.
The 12-player boys' basketball roster includes five from Prince William -- Potomac guard Bryan Butler, Potomac forward Jason Flagler, Woodbridge forward Daniel Fountain, Hylton forward Jermaine Hill and Gar-Field guard Chris Vann. That game is at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Hampton Coliseum.
In the football game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Darling Stadium, four area players will suit up -- Hylton defensive back Deon Butler, Hylton fullback-linebacker Endor Cooper, Stonewall Jackson guard Anthony Cotton and Gar-Field defensive end Greg Tekampe.
Osbourn softball coach Renee Leake will lead the West team in that all-star game, at 2 p.m. Thursday at Briarfield Park. Eagles catcher Laura Hundemer also is on the team.
Gar-Field defender Nathalie Bolder will play in the girls' soccer game at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Darling Stadium.