New football coach replaces Stitchel


Bill Lewis (top left), who will be the varsity football coach for the 2014 season, wins the championship in the Harford-Baltimore County Youth Football League with his Bel Air youth team in 2003. Also pictured are coach Steve Jacobs (top right) and players Brandon Lewis (bottom left) and Ryan Jacobs (bottom right). Lewis is replacing varsity head coach Rich Stichel, Jr.

Varsity football head coach Rich Stichel Jr. will not return to JC next year. His position will go to Bill Lewis, the JV head coach.

“I talked to Coach Stichel at length about our current situation and things we’d like to change. I thought [it] would be healthy for the team,” Athletic Director Larry Dukes said.

Coaches are on one-year contracts that can be renewed at the end of the season. According to Dukes, no specific incident influenced the decision to not renew Stichel’s contract. “It’s an emotion-filled game because it’s a collision sport,” Dukes said.

Besides Stichel, the rest of the football staff will remain. “I hire the varsity coach for the year, and then I let them build out the staff any way they prefer,” Dukes said.

Stichel was head coach for four years and offensive coordinator under Keith Rawlings before that. “In general, his time was very positive,” Dukes said. In those four years, Stichel’s record was 24-19.

This past season, varsity went 4-6, and the team was short on players. With approval from the MIAA, four players participated in both JV and varsity games. According to Dukes, 15 of the varsity players were juniors, and unless JC recruits, there will not be enough boys to field a team after the current juniors graduate in 2015.

Lewis has coached for JC for six years and for Bel Air in the Harford County rec league for 12.

“I’ve got a lot of contacts and relationships in Harford County,” Lewis said. “I’m trying to keep the Harford County kids at JC.”

“Coach Lewis uses the office [across the hall] to talk to shadow kids almost every day,” Principal Madelyn Ball said. “I saw that, and I knew then that we’d made the right decision.”

“My goal is to be in the championship [next year],” Lewis said.

In his experience coaching at the youth level, Lewis has gone to two Maryland state championships.

His hopes to have a successful team that also serves to bring in new players. “As you get better, more and more want to come play, and I fully expect that to happen here,” Lewis said.

“This year wasn’t that great,” junior Jake Kahoe, varsity left tackle, said. “We’re excited for next year because Coach Lewis seems like he could take us to a championship next year, my senior year.”

“He certainly seems to have a lot of respect, and I think it is very important to have the community and students respect the football coach,” Ball said.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun, and I think we will do really well. He is really nice and laid-back. I think we will have more control over the field,” junior Jake Rosaschi, a varsity wide receiver and cornerback said.

Kathy Deaver is a Sports Editor for The Patriot and