Michael out as Williamsport football coach after job change

August 07, 2003|by MARK KELLER

Eric Michael had his sights set on one day becoming an administrator at the high school level, and had planned on making the 2003 football season his last as head coach at Williamsport High.

So, when the opportunity presented itself this week, Michael chose to pursue his future and put football in his past one year early.

Michael gave up the Williamsport football program after seven years Tuesday to accept a position as assistant principal at the school.


"I knew I wanted to get into administration and I knew I wanted to do high school over middle school," Michael said. "My wife (Leah) and I just found out we're going to have another baby next year, so this is a step up financially and I have to look at the future. Family comes first."

Michael, 35, also resigned as athletic director. Under Washington County rules, school administrators cannot be coaches or athletic directors.

"I thought about it a lot over the summer and really looked at this year as being my last year coaching," Michael said. "But this job came up at the last minute. I figured I'd throw my hat in the ring and see what happens ... now, here we are."

Maryland schools begin practice for the fall sports season on Aug. 15, leaving a little more than a week for Michael's positions to be filled.

The most likely successor for both positions is Adrian Custer, an assistant coach on Michael's staff since 1998.

"Eric called me on Monday and told me that this might be happening," Custer said. "The last couple of years, I've been taking notes, watching how Eric has run the program and thinking about how I would handle situations.

"It's a dream come true to have the opportunity. I've wanted to be a head coach."

Michael said he wasn't aware of any other candidates for either position and gave Custer, 28, his endorsement for both. He said both positions should be filled by early next week.

Michael leaves the football program with a 30-40 record after a series of highs and lows. He inherited a team in 1996 that hadn't seen a winning season in six years and immediately returned respectablility with a 5-5 season.

Three straight winning seasons followed from 1997-99 and the Wildcats entered the final week of the 1999 season with a shot at their first state playoff berth. An 18-13 upset loss to Francis Scott Key kept Williamsport home for the postseason.

However, the team has been on a downswing, getting just six wins in the last three seasons and entering the 2003 season on an 18-game losing streak - the longest current streak in the Tri-State area.

The Herald-Mail Articles