It was mid-July when Liberty Coach Tommy Buzzo got word that one of his assistant coaches was unexpectedly leaving. The departure left an opening on the Eagles' staff for an offensive line coach, and Buzzo's thoughts jumped to one man: former Fauquier coach Tom Ferrell.
Ferrell had resigned as Fauquier's head coach in November after 11 seasons in which he won more games than any other coach in school history and guided the Falcons to a pair of Region II Division 4 titles and four playoff appearances. But Buzzo's connection to Ferrell runs far deeper than their ties in Fauquier County.
Ferrell was the defensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Bluefield High (W. Va.) in 1984, when Buzzo was a senior guard and linebacker at the school. Together, the two helped lead Bluefield to a Class AAA title that season.
"When I found out about the opening, [Ferrell] was definitely the first person I thought of," Buzzo said. "I mean, I had played for Coach [Ferrell]. But I was a bit hesitant as to whether or not I should make that call and talk to him. . . . As it turns out, it was a great situation for both of us."
When Buzzo finally reached Ferrell on his cell phone, he was on vacation with his wife, Gayle, and their two young granddaughters in Myrtle Beach, S.C. It took Ferrell precious little time to decide to accept the job.
"Really it came out of left field," Ferrell said. "But from there things just happened so fast. I talked to Gayle, and she was all for it. So I told Coach Buzzo it was an offer that really appealed to me. I'm glad not to have all of the head coach responsibilities anymore. But I guess I wasn't quite ready to give it up."
Ferrell, who has 33 years of high school coaching experience, wasn't the only addition to the Eagles' staff this offseason. Mark Kirk, who had coached at four high schools and two colleges in Pennsylvania and Delaware, also joined as linebackers coach.
"With the addition of the two of them we've got to have the most experienced coaching staff in the area," said Buzzo, who is starting his 10th season with the Eagles. "And the best part is, when you hire people with so much experience you know that the football knowledge is there. But you sometimes wonder if the enthusiasm will be . . . and that has not been a problem."
Kirk assured Buzzo in 20-plus years of high school coaching he had never made it through the first week of practice without losing his voice. This season proved no exception. As for Ferrell, Buzzo said he also has shown himself to be one of the most excited coaches on the staff.
"I think he's been a great addition," senior lineman Alex Stadler said of Ferrell. "He really knows what he's talking about. I mean, he coached Coach Buzzo. Just having someone around with that much experience, I think it's really going to help us."
Warren County at Liberty
Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m.
The Eagles were the only team to hold Wildcats' standout running back H. B. Banjoman (2,026 yards rushing in 2004) to less than 100 yards last season. Doing so helped continue their streak of undefeated games in AA Northwestern District play, which now stands at 15 games.
This Season's Schedule
DateOpponentTimeSept. 2at Fauquier7:30Sept. 9Stafford7:30Sept. 23at Culpeper7:30Sept. 30Central7:30Oct. 7at James Wood7:30Oct. 14Sherando*7:30Oct. 22at Handley1Oct. 28Warren County7:30Nov. 4at Millbrook7:30Nov. 11Brentsville7:30*homecoming
Last Year's Results
DateOpponentResultSept. 3FauquierW, 16-13Sept. 21at Loudoun CountyW, 60-7Sept. 25CulpeperW, 29-0Oct. 1at BrentsvilleW, 35-0Oct. 8James WoodW, 63-0Oct. 15at SherandoW, 35-7Oct. 22HandleyW, 42-6Oct. 29at Warren CountyW, 31-0Nov. 5MillbrookW, 55-6Nov. 19Harrisonburg**L, 28-27**AA Region II Division 4 playoffs