Weimer steps down from Wildcats' post

July 10, 2003|by ANDREW MASON

Blame it on his bum knee. Or his desire to spend more time with family. Or his team's perceived lack of desire since his daughter, Brooke, graduated from high school two years ago. Or that the soccer season coincides with that of his favorite activity, hunting.

John Weimer, 52, of Williamsport, said the reason he recently stepped down from his eight-year post as varsity girls soccer coach at Williamsport High School is probably a combination of all of the above.

"It was just time," Weimer said. "I'm getting a total knee replacement in August, and that put the clinchers on it. The total knee replacement will sideline me from all activity for three to four months."


Weimer, the only coach the Wildcats have ever had, went 86-36-6 at Williamsport with three straight Maryland Class 1A West titles and state runner-up finishes from 1998 to 2000.

"In a short time, starting from scratch, he put Williamsport right up there," Williamsport athletic director Eric Michael said. "He's going to be a tough act to follow."

J.R. Mellott, 46, of Williamsport, who's served as both president and vice president of Williamsport Youth Soccer Inc. over the last four years, will take his place this fall.

"There's definitely going to be pressure. It's a whole new role to play," said Mellott, a 1975 Williamsport grad and former Wildcats player. "Most of my coaching experience has been in rec leagues, but I'm looking forward to the competitive side of it.

"Everybody wants you to win, and there's a lot of tradition in Williamsport. Keeping the tradition going is one of my goals."

Weimer, who has worked as a soccer and basketball referee since the 1970s, said Brooke's involvement with soccer went hand-in-hand with his coaching start with the Wildcats in 1995.

"There were finally enough girls for a team, and I was thinking Brooke would be playing high school soccer, and that that would be one more way to spend time with her," Weimer said. "There was a need, and I thought I'd give it a try."

The Weimers excelled together, as Williamsport captured three region crowns and state-final berths during Brooke's sophomore through senior seasons. Brooke, a two-time all-state selection, graduated in 2001 as the Wildcats' all-time leader in goals (92) and assists (76).

But the Wildcats have only been slightly above average since, going 8-7-1 in 2001 and 7-6-2 last year.

"Brooke was the driving force," Weimer said. "The last two years, since she graduated, the dedication has not been there. The kids don't want to practice hard in the summer. They're involved in too many different activities. They don't dedicate themselves to the team.

"That's not the main reason I'm leaving, but that's part of it."

While Weimer said he's also going to stop officiating soccer, he plans to return to the basketball courts after his knee is healed.

"I'm looking forward to officiating basketball next year," he said. "My ties with soccer will probably just be helping out."

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