Spielman stays on track as an official

April 26, 2012|By ANDREW MASON |

Jeff Spielman was in a familiar place last Saturday at North Hagerstown — at a high school track and field meet.

While he’s traded in his coaching clipboard for a starter’s pistol this spring, the sport of track and field remains a constant in his life.

“I’m starting the next phase of my life now. I’m going to be an official,” said Spielman, who has helped officiate several meets in Washington County this season. “I did that other part for so long, and now I’m doing something different. But I haven’t ruled out returning to coaching, but I’d probably be an assistant coach, not a head coach.”

For four decades, he was at the helm at Hancock. He started the Panthers’ varsity program in 1972 and remained the Panthers’ head coach through last spring.

“It was a good run,” he said. “These days you don’t see many people coaching for 40 years, let alone 40 years at the same school. After 40 years, I was due for some kind of change.”

Spielman also will no longer coach boys basketball and cross country at Hancock, and at the end of this school year he’s retiring from his longtime position as a physical education and health teacher at Hancock Elementary School.

While Spielman was a man for all seasons at Hancock, he said track was his favorite sport.

“I love basketball and coaching basketball, but track is my passion,” he said. “I started the sport at Hancock because I felt a need for it. It gave Hancock a chance to excel. We’ve had a lot of region champions over the years and a lot of high place finishers in the state.”

While Spielman is still actively involved with the sport, he no longer has his team.

“I miss the kids more than anything, not so much the coaching but the interacting with them,” he said. “A lot of those kids I’ve watched grow up from 5 years old.”

Spielman’s son Brad, who was his assistant coach, is now assisting T.J. Hood with Smithsburg track.

“I told T.J. if he has something open next year, I’d like to help him too,” Spielman said. “But that’s all in the future, and I don’t know what it holds.”

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