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Eberhart resigns as Glendale coach

FootballChris Long

Glendale High’s latest triumph on the football field — a 55-49 victory over archrival Hoover in the annual “Battle for the Victory Bell” on Thursday — will stand as the last victory for the Nitros with Coach Alan Eberhart at the helm.

Eberhart officially resigned Monday after three years as the Glendale coach.

“I failed,” Eberhart said. “I don’t want to blame anybody. I came here, I thought I could change it, but I failed to create an atmosphere where kids wanted to play football. We did not get it done here.”

After a long run at Crescenta Valley in which Eberhart, a Glendale High graduate, coached for the better part of 14 seasons, compiling an 89-58-1 record and five Pacific League titles, he returned to his alma mater to take over the Nitros, but was never able to bring about the same success that he did at CV.

Glendale went 2-8 overall and 1-6 in league this past season, bringing Ebehart’s overall record to 4-26 during his three years with the Nitros, with three of those wins coming against Hoover.

“I totally support Coach Eberhart’s decision,” Glendale Principal Deb Rinder said. “I think the last three years have been challenging, frustrating at times and rewarding.

“The man has put in a lifetime of coaching at all levels … I totally support his decision to step down and I’m thankful for the three years that we had him.”

Rumblings about Eberhart’s resignation had existed for some time, but it wasn’t until Monday that he officially resigned.

“I loved being a head coach, but I’m tired, it just wore me out,” Eberhart said. “I just don’t know what to say anymore.”

Much of Eberhart’s frustrations came with the lack of players the program attracted as the team this season had just more than 30 players most of the year and began with 25 before calling up junior varsity players.

“The kids we have here worked their butts off, but we just don’t have enough of them,” Eberhart said.

Eberhart involved himself with the Glendale Bears Pop Warner organization in the hopes of further developing a feeder system to the high school. He was also vocal about trying to get more Glendale High athletes to play multiple sports and, along with former Hoover Coach Chris Long, brought about Glendale and Hoover playing each other in the opening week of the season in the hopes of increasing the local teams’ fan base. However, none of those efforts provided successful numbers whether that was in wins on the field or players on the team.

“I know Alan was frustrated,” Rinder said. “It’s like teaching, if one way doesn’t work, then you have to try another way.”

Rinder agreed that the low number of players is a problem, but not one that cannot be remedied. Thus, it’s likely an avenue that the program’s next coach — who will be the sixth for the program in a nine-year period — must address. Rinder said the coaching search will start immediately.

“I think that kids today have so many choices. I think that the pool, in general, is shallower, not in talent, but in numbers,” Rinder said. “Is it challenging at Glendale High School? Yes. Is it undoable? Absolutely not.

“To say it’s not a problem would be putting your head in the sand. For a school of 3,000 [kids], we don’t have the numbers we should have.”

Rinder said her goal is to find a new coach as quickly as possible.

The coach will inherit a Glendale program that will lose 23 seniors on its 31-player roster, including standout running back Alex Yoon and quarterback Evan Norton. The Nitros have had just one winning season since 1993, as the team went 6-4 in 2008 before Eberhart took over the program and a team that had just three returning starters.

As for what’s next for Eberhart in terms of coaching, he said he has no plans.

“For the first time in a long time, I’m not looking for anything,” he said. “I’m not saying I won’t ever coach again or anything like that, but I’m not looking for anything right now.”

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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