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Ricca will captain new crew for Vikings

January 17, 2002

Ricca will captain new crew for Vikings



By DAN SPEARS

dans@herald-mail.com

FREDERICK, Md. - John Ricca is not a member of the Psychic Friends Network.

Still, he had a premonition he would eventually make his way to St. John's at Prospect Hall.

"I called up here about three or four years ago and asked them if they were thinking about starting a (football) program," Ricca said. "I guess this was in the back of my mind the whole time. It's crazy how it worked out."

Wednesday afternoon, Ricca fulfilled his own prophecy when the school announced he will coach the Vikings' inaugural football team this fall.

"We said there's a movement to do this, and let's do it right," Prospect Hall athletic director Bruce Kelley said. "We're riding a wave ... I hope people realize that football will raise the whole ship."

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Ricca comes to Frederick County from St. John's (D.C.), where he compiled a 78-77-3 mark over the last 15 seasons at the private school. He won a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title in 1989 and made two other championship games in one of the most powerful football conferences in the Mid-Atlantic.

The transition from the metro powerhouse to a fledgling program appears to be a step backward for Ricca, who left the Cadets after a 6-4 season full of near-upsets in 2001. But taking the road less traveled has become a roadtrip with two old friends: Kelley and Prospect Hall headmaster Richard Fairley.

"This is a great opportunity to work with two people I've always enjoyed," Ricca said. "And I always thought it would be something neat to start a program."

So did the folks at Prospect Hall. Enrollment is expected to increase by 67 percent in the coming years and the school wanted another hook for its revamped academic and athletic programs to provide a private-school education in a public-school-dominated area.

"Football isn't the be-all, end-all for us," Fairley said. "It's part of the big plan. we want football to enhance an already positive place."

So can goal posts enhance the skyline on the southwestern part of Frederick? Ricca's not giving out any predictions.

Yet.

"The goal isn't to go out and beat DeMatha in the first year," Ricca said with a laugh. "If it is, then I might be in the wrong place.

"Our goal is to be an outstanding small school program, to be as successful as early as possible and to do it the right way."

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