When Catonsville High School’s James Fitzpatrick retired last December as girls soccer coach, he left behind an atractive coaching position.
On Tuesday, Gary Lynch, who was the girls soccer coach at John Carroll for the past 16 seasons, took that position.
“John Carroll didn’t ask me back, and I had offers for college and high school,” said Lynch, who coached at the College of Notre Dame for seven years before moving to John Carroll.
Lynch, who lives in Fallston, is eager to get started at Catonsville.
“I’m really, really excited,” he said. “I’m going in with the idea to make the kids the best they can be.”
In Fitzpatrick’s final season, the 17-2 Comets set a school record for wins and consecutive victories (16) before they lost in the Class 4A state championship game to Walt Whitman, 2-0, after yielding two goals in the final eight minutes.
“I told them all year long you are the best team I have ever coached and top to bottom, all 19 players that whoever we put on the field can do the job,” said Fitzpatrick, who had a career mark of 117-58-1 at Catonsville.
Lynch had a career mark of 243-75-18 at John Carroll, with his best team being the undefeated 2004 squad (21-0) that was named best in the country.
“We are thrilled to have Gary Lynch lead our girls soccer program,” Catonsville principal Bill Heiser said. “Coach Lynch brings a wealth of soccer coaching experience, and I have no doubt that our returning players and athletic community will be excited about this announcement.”
Lynch’s initial connection to Catonsville was through the rankings.
“I got familiar with Catonsville about seven or eight years ago when I would look at the rankings and they started to play noticeable soccer,” Lynch said.
Since 2007, Lynch has worn a ponytail to support Locks of Love, after his daughter was diagnosed with cancer.
He has received numerous coaching awards, including NSCAA Coach of the Year, a three-time Baltimore Sun Harford County Coach of the Year, Baltimore Sun All-Metro Coach of the Year, and a three-time NSCAA Regional Coach of the Year.
Lynch is the Director of Player Development and Coaching Education for the Harford Football Club, and he holds a USYSA “C” License.
Catonsville will return seven starters from its Baltimore County and regional championship squad.
“I’m really, really looking forward to it,” Lynch said.