Loyola Blakefield football coach Brant Hall had been feeling the pull of his family away from the Dons football program for a few years, and after this season he will step down as coach.
Hall decided he needs to spend more time with his wife and two sons, ages 8 and 5.
“It’s been eating at me for the last two or three seasons, just having to leave the house and leave my sons here when they want to spend a lot of time with me. I ask myself, ‘Do I want to do everything that a head football coach needs to do to be successful?’ So it’s been eating at me, and I think the time is right. I’m sure of it. But it was a very tough decision.”
Hall, a Loyola graduate, will stay on at the school as assistant athletics director and as the seventh-grade lacrosse coach. He plans to begin studying for a master’s degree in educational leadership, but he will remain involved with Dons football recruiting, especially in the transition to a new coach. A search will begin in December for his successor.
Hall, 36, has been involved in football for 29 years, including as a player at Loyola where he was the All-Metro Player of the Year his senior year, 1997. He is in his fifth season as head coach after nine years as the Dons’ offensive coordinator.
“I’m extremely thankful for the Loyola community and all the support they’ve shown me over the years. That school changed my life,” Hall. said,
Although there’s a lot of football to be played first, Hall would like nothing more than to go out with a Turkey Bowl win on Thanksgiving Day. The Dons won in 2013, but Calvert Hall won the other three meetings since Hall took over at Loyola.
Calvert Hall coach Donald Davis said he has enjoyed every battle with Hall’s teams in the Turkey Bowl – all of which have been decided by a touchdown or less.
“It’s been tremendous because every game has really come down to the final play or down to the wire… You're talking single-digit games four years in a row. In any rivalry, that’s tremendous," Davis said.
“It’s been, and will be this year, an honor standing across the field from Brant Hall. I have tremendous respect for Brant, his staff and the kids. He’s a great guy and a tremendous educator. That’s a huge loss for Loyola football.”
In his final season, Hall’s team is off to a 3-0 start.
“It’s an exciting year for us,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of seniors and some great leaders, guys who are participating in their third year of varsity football – the kind of team coaches love to have. The guys have been there before, they have the experience and they hold each other accountable. I’m very much looking forward to this Friday. We’ve got a big game against Curley. We're just looking to go 1-0 this week. We’ve still got a lot of season left.”
Loyola athletics director Mike Keeney said, “Brant is an inspiring ambassador for our Ignatian principles. He embodies the mission of the school in a way that sets an outstanding example for our Dons.”
As a player at Loyola, Hall was a three year starter, playing on two teams that shared the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title. After moving on to Lehigh, he was a first-team All-Patriot League selection twice. The Mountain Hawks won four straight League championships with him at quarterback.