Seneca Valley football, one of Maryland’s most accomplished programs, let go of Fred Kim on Thursday, Kim said, following the team’s worst season in his 15-year tenure as head coach.
“I’ve given every ounce of my fiber and soul to this program,” Kim, 48, said Friday, “and it still wasn’t good enough.”
Kim, a Gaithersburg native, played safety and running back for Seneca Valley, winning the 1987 Maryland 4A championship.
When he started coaching in 1994, Kim craved becoming the Screamin’ Eagles’ head coach. Twice, Kim fled the Germantown school for short coaching stints at Poolesville and Quince Orchard to improve his chances to take over as the Screamin' Eagles' leader.
Kim assisted in two Seneca Valley state crowns, and he became the head coach in 2004 after Terry Changuris’s retirement. Kim didn’t accomplish his objective of adding onto Seneca Valley’s Maryland-best 12 state championships.
But Kim felt he would’ve still had a chance. Seneca Valley’s enrollment dropped last year as the school began construction, but the student body is expected to double when rebuilding is complete in 2020.
Kim’s teams finished with 14 winning records before the Screamin’ Eagles endured their second losing season this year at 2-8. In September, police investigated allegations of unwanted sexual touching among football players at Seneca Valley, but no charges were filed.
“We are grateful for his service to our students and the SVHS community at large,” Seneca Valley Principal Marc Cohen wrote in an email. “We appreciate his unwavering commitment to the student athletes on his team.”
Cohen did not elaborate on the reasons for Kim’s release form the program but did say “he will remain in his role as a teacher at Seneca Valley.” Kim teaches physical education.
Kim said multiple Montgomery County teams have contacted him in regards to joining their staffs but he hasn’t yet accepted the fact that he’s leaving Seneca Valley’s team.
“It’s probably going to be the hardest thing that I’ve dealt with in my life,” Kim said.
Kim said the last time he felt lost was when he graduated college in 1992. After years of playing football, Kim was unhappy working at Chevy Chase Bank.
So Kim scheduled a meeting with his former football coach at Seneca Valley. Changuris suggested Kim become a teacher and high school football coach. About two years later, Kim returned to Seneca Valley to do just that — and those positions gave him purpose over the past 25 years.