Most Howard County high schools will not hold sporting events at night this fall unless $125,000 is raised for stadium lights by Sept. 28, said Don Disney, the county's coordinator of athletics.
"We've waited 40 years to get stadium lights, and now it's fourth-and-goal from the five-yard line, and this is pretty much our last chance if we want night games this fall," Disney said. "But we knew getting the last part of the money together would be the hardest."
Stadium lights are scheduled to be installed at Long Reach, Oakland Mills, River Hill, Reservoir, Atholton, Glenelg and Mount Hebron by the end of the month, but they won't be turned on until all of the money is raised for the $1.05 million project.
The remaining schools are scheduled to have lights in place by Jan. 1, allowing for night lacrosse games next spring. Howard High School has long had lights and will be allowed to hold night games this fall.
Disney and Doug Hostetler, chairman of the stadium lights committee, met with school booster clubs last week to discuss fundraising methods.
Construction will continue on the lights while the fundraising proceeds. "But the deal was that we promised the school board that we would not use money from the budget to pay for the lights and that all the money would come from businesses and from people in the community," Disney said. "We are going to keep the promise we made."
New Football Coaches
Howard County has four new head football coaches this season, the most in one season since River Hill and Long Reach opened in 1996.
Centennial's Jamie Wagner and Howard's Dave Glenn are each directing varsity teams for the first time. Reservoir's Joe Lewis spent the past five seasons as the head coach of DuVal in Lanham, and Oakland Mills' Dick Hendershott has 27 years of high school coaching experience, including the past six as head coach at Holland Patent High School in central New York.
Wagner was Centennial's defensive coordinator after spending the previous five coaching the school's junior varsity team. He takes over for Ross Hannon, who resigned after two seasons because of personal reasons. Hannon is now an assistant coach at Mount Hebron.
Glenn has been an assistant coach at Howard for 14 years, a major reason he was chosen to succeed Vince Parnell, who stepped down after eight seasons to give someone else the opportunity to coach.
"He was very familiar with our players, and our players looked up to him," said Parnell, who is still Howard's athletic director. "He knows the game of football, and he was a great fit for us."
At Reservoir, Lewis replaced Sam Singleton, who said his contract was not renewed because of philosophical differences with the school's administration. Singleton is now an assistant coach at Oakland Mills.
Lewis was an All-County football, basketball and baseball player at Oakland Mills before graduating in 1986. He attended Temple on a football scholarship.
"It's great to be back in the county where I grew up, and it's a great opportunity to try to build a program at Reservoir," Lewis said.
Hendershott replaces Ken Hovet at Oakland Mills. Hovet was removed from his coaching and teaching positions in November during an investigation into improper grade changing. He was exonerated by the school board in August and offered his old jobs but decided to teach at River Hill.
Hovet is an assistant coach at Magruder this fall and has already been named head football coach and athletic director at Marriott's Ridge High, a Howard County school opening next year.