Archbishop Spalding athletic director Jeff Parsons has been looking for someone to permanently replace longtime football coach Mike Whittles, who died of pancreatic cancer in June.
On Wednesday, Parsons announced that Kyle Schmitt, who coached at Atholton for the past four years, has been named the new coach of the Cavaliers.
Schmitt, who played football at Maryland, compiled a 38-9 record and led the Raiders to playoff appearances in all four seasons. Atholton lost in the Class 3A East regional final in 2011 and 2012.
After Whittles' death last summer, Spalding named Brian Propst as the interim coach. He led the team to a 5-5 record in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association in 2012, but school officials planned to search for a permanent coach following the season.
Schmitt said he loved his time at Atholton, but the chance to take over the Cavaliers was too good to pass up. He immediately showed interest in the job, a feeling that he said was reciprocated by Spalding officials. About five in "a pool of candidates," including Propst, went through the interview process, and the school officially hired Schmitt on Tuesday.
"It was something that really intrigued me," Schmitt said of the opening at Spalding. "It was an opportunity to take another step as a coach. … I had to take it."
In a news release, Parsons said: "We are extremely excited to have Kyle join our school community as a coach and a teacher. We feel that he will be a great influence on our young men, and help continue to advance our football program into one of the preeminent programs in the state of Maryland."
Schmitt said he has already started putting together his staff at Spalding.
Though three coaches left Atholton to take positions at Hammond following the 2012 season, Schmitt said he plans to keep most of his current staff together.
"I'm taking the rest of my crew to Spalding, and at that point I'll look at the staff that's at Spalding already who coached with the program last year," Schmitt said. "Anybody who is interested, I'm going to give them the opportunity to sit down with me, talk football and everything else."
Most of Spalding's current coaches served on Whittles' staff, including Propst, who spent 12 years as an assistant before taking the helm last season. Schmitt said he's also open to interviewing people not currently on either school's staff. He has already fielded a few calls, and Schmitt said he's looking for "guys that have some ties to the area, [who] can help recruiting for the program and the school as well."
Propst said he thought he was given the interim tag simply to see if the program could carry on under him the same way it did under Whittles.
He interviewed for the job along with the other candidates, and when he didn't get it, he said he was "devastated, very hurt and, frankly, a little confused."
Asked whether he would consider taking an assistant position under Schmitt or look to coach at another school, Propst said he hasn't thought about any of that yet.
"Right now I'm just trying to get over the hurt. When you love something so much and you put your heart and soul into something, it's rough when it gets taken out from under you," Propst said. "I have a big hole in my heart. It's like losing Coach Whittles all over again for me."
Schmitt knows what type of opportunity the Spalding job presents, and he knows what kind of expectations he'll face. So, no matter who is on his coaching staff, his goals for his new team remain the same.
"I know the history, and what Coach Whittles has done with the program is remarkable," Schmitt said. "There's a really excellent foundation at Spalding that I want to continue to try and build off."