FLS Varsity

FLS Varsity brings you the scores, stats and stories from Fredericksburg-area high school sports.

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When James Monroe football coach Rich Serbay answered a telephone call from his son Thursday and was asked to sit down, his heart began to race.

But Sammy Serbay wasn’t calling to tell his father anything catastrophic. He had received a call earlier in the day from the Virginia High School League informing him that Rich Serbay had been selected for the organization’s Hall of Fame.

Rich Serbay will be inducted into the VHSL Hall of Fame at a ceremony Oct. 15 in Charlottesville.

“It’s a very big honor,” Rich Serbay said. “The reason it’s a big honor is because it’s basically attributed to the fact I’ve had great assistant coaches, great players, great principals and great community support. It takes a combination of all of that to make a football coach.”

Serbay guided the Yellow Jackets to Group AA, Division 3 state championships in 1986, ’87, ’96 and 2008. He’s helped lead them to seven appearances in the state championship game, including the past three, which have been losses to Brookville (twice) and Northside.

His career record is 222–104–1 on the field in 28 seasons. JM had to forfeit six victories in 2009 for the use of an ineligible player.

Rich Serbay had also had stints as JM’s baseball coach and athletic director. Sammy Serbay said he experienced “a bunch of emotions” when he delivered the news to his father.

“My dad’s been through a lot,” Sammy Serbay said. “He came from the streets of Yonkers [N.Y.] and he’s been able to make an impact on the lives of a lot of kids. It was a touching experience to be the person to tell him that.”

It was an emotional moment for a coach known for his fiery demeanor and compassion for his players.

George Coghill, who was a member of Rich Serbay’s first two state championship teams and an assistant coach on his fourth, said he’s been so successful because of the energy he puts into his program.

“Just going to a game on Friday nights and seeing his passion for the game and his passion for seeing kids excel on the football field, it’s pretty intense,” said Coghill who played five seasons for the Denver Broncos. “Most of his coaches over the years were also fiery type of guys. He surrounded himself with guys that are enthusiastic about the game.”

Rich Serbay and Colonial Forge coach Bill Brown will be the only two active Fredericksburg-area coaches who are members of the Hall of Fame next season. Former Courtland coach Ken Brown is also a member.

“It’s really a community award and a JM award,” Rich Serbay said. “I just happen to be the one to get something for it.”


Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526