The Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School football team will have a new head coach in about a month, a replacement for the successful Rich Noland who resigned Nov. 27.
“I’m never going to abandon the guys. I’m just taking a little quick break from my coaching responsibilities. I just have to think about coaching closer to home,” said Noland, who lives in Damascus and coached B-CC for four seasons.
B-CC Athletic Director Jim Tapley now begins a search for Noland’s successor. Tapley told The Gazette on Friday that Noland will continue as the school’s junior varsity softball coach.
“You hope to build on what you already accomplished,” Tapley said. Noland led B-CC to a 7-4 record this fall en route to the team’s second consecutive Class 4A West Region tournament appearance after its third consecutive winning year.
“There is always that risk the person who comes in could slide back, but what Noland and his assistant coaches accomplished is getting the kids believing they will be competitive in every game,” Tapley said. “B-CC years past sometimes struggled in having a confident attitude.”
In four years, Noland turned a perennial doormat into Montgomery 4A South Division contender.
In his first season in 2009, the Barons finished 4-6, the same number of wins they’d tallied in the previous two years combined.
Last year’s postseason campaign marked B-CC’s first playoff appearance since 1995.
“Whoever comes in is coming to an improved situation from what it was a few years ago. Whoever comes in we will expect them to continue to build on what has been accomplished,” Tapley said.
Noland, who teaches at B-CC, said his decision was one he had contemplated several times the past two years and alerted Tapley before Thanksgiving that a decision was in the near future.
“I told [Tapley] that I would give him a definite answer after the break. It’s a big time commitment. I have two kids and you really have to think about the time you miss with them. That has been weighing on me the past couple of years,” Noland said. “I think spending time with my family over Thanksgiving was the tipping point. You don’t ever feel like it’s a good time [to step down], but I feel good about what I did [for the program] and about the decision. There won’t be any regrets.”
Noland said he is pleased with the direction the program is going in and is confident the Barons will continue to move forward.
Though he no longer is their official coach, Noland said he will continue to help his former players in their pursuit of college football opportunities and will gladly participate in the selection process for a new coach if Tapley asks him.
Noland added that he is not done coaching football for good but will look in the future for something closer to his home in Damascus.
“Maybe I will get a chance to coach some of my kids’ teams. That’s not something I’ve been able to do. I don’t know if they’ll like that, but I certainly would like to,” he said.
Tapley said he already has received “three or four” emails of interested applicants for the coaching job. He said the position will be advertised via the Montgomery County Public Schools hiring process and teachers will get first preference for the post. He would not say whether current assistant coaches have expressed interest in the job, but said he would encourage them to apply.