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Prep Notebook: Schools must replace longtime coaches

BY TAFT COGHILL JR.

Two veteran Fredericksburg-area coaches have retired from their sports.

Massaponax girls soccer coach Jackie Gebhart has stepped down after guiding the Panthers for 14 seasons.

Gebhart is the only coach in Massaponax’s history. She previously coached at Spotsylvania.

“I guess you could say it was surprising because nobody anticipated it,” Massaponax athletic director Stan Clements said of Gebhart’s decision. “But at the same time she’s put in a lot of years with the girls soccer program.”

King George softball coach Billie Jo Derrow has put in a lot of time, too.

Derrow said she’s retiring after eight seasons with the Foxes to focus on her health.

Derrow was previously the coach at Washington & Lee for 11 seasons.

She guided the Foxes to two Region I tournament appearances, including 2011 when she helped lead them to a Battlefield District tournament championship.

“I love the game. I love being around the girls and making a small difference in their lives,” said Derrow, who will remain a math teacher at King George Middle School. “I will be there at the games, and if they need me to do any announcing or score-keeping, I will do whatever I can to help out. I will be one of the biggest supporters of the program.”

Clements said the Panthers will start their search for a new coach soon. He said assistant coach Tim Fetner is a strong candidate for the opening.

King George athletic director Alex Fisher said the Foxes will begin their search this summer.

Fisher said the school is seeking someone with many of the same qualities as Derrow.

“She’s someone the girls responded to and had respect for,” Fisher said. “We want somebody like that in our next head coach for sure.”

A CHARGER SHAKEUP

Chancellor has had a recent shakeup it its coaching staffs, but athletic director Rod Crooks said it’s for a positive reason.

Basketball and baseball coach J.P. Gibbons has been named an assistant coach for the football team.

That meant he had to give up one of the other sports, and Gibbons chose to leave the basketball program.

Gibbons spent one season as the head baseball and basketball coach.

“I’m trying to get the maximum out of every coach and I want the kids to get the maximum benefit out of every coach,” Crooks said. “This is a great fit and a great idea. The basketball program will be well taken care of.”

The Chargers’ hoops team advanced to the Region I, Division 4 semifinals under Gibbons last season.

Crooks said he’ll begin the search for Gibbons’ replacement after the school’s graduation on Saturday.

WOLFPACK WANT HOLMES

Chancellor junior safety Chris Holmes picked up a scholarship offer from North Carolina State this week, Chargers assistant coach Chris Lam said.

Holmes has racked up 11 Football Bowl Subdivision scholarship offers. Lam said he doesn’t expect Holmes to commit to a school soon.

Holmes (6-foot-2, 187 pounds) is expected to visit Clemson, N.C. State, Old Dominion and South Carolina in the coming weeks.

Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526

tcoghill@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/sports/2012/05/30/prep-notebook-schools-must-replace-longtime-coaches/