Blazers' desire attracts Bathgate

August 01, 2007|By MARK KELLER

One look at the Clear Spring football team's record over the past three years would be enough to make most prospective coaches turn away.

So, it's no surprise that the most appealing thing to Craig Bathgate about the Clear Spring job wasn't found on paper, but on the field.

The heart and effort the Blazers display during games - despite large deficits, long odds and many losses - are what led Bathgate to leave his position as an assistant coach at North Hagerstown to become the second head coach in the four-year history of the Clear Spring program.

"When we played Clear Spring last year, it opened my eyes to what they had," Bathgate said. "They had 15 kids on the sideline, guys limping on and off the field, but they were holding us late in the fourth quarter. There was no quit in them.


"That desire was something I enjoyed watching, even on the other sideline. It's still there and still alive."

Bathgate took over the position in late May, replacing John Wilson, who went 2-28 in Clear Spring's first three years as a varsity program.

Bathgate coached the North freshman team for two years and spent the last six as the Hubs' defensive coordinator. He also is the indoor track coach at North.

"I'm really looking forward to the challenge, stepping out on my own to see what I can do," Bathgate said. "(North's) built up big and strong enough. They won't miss me too much."

"He was a tremendous asset to us here at North and I think he'll do a good job at Clear Spring," North head coach Dan Cunningham said. "It's a great opportunity for Craig."

Bathgate said his coaching staff is nearly set. Nathan Butts, who coached junior varsity at North, is moving with Bathgate and several Clear Spring coaches are staying on board.

"Our first priorities are to develop team discipline and a family atmosphere. We're not looking at wins and losses," Bathgate said. "We want to come together as a team and put out our best effort and let that take us where it will."

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