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Football: Josh Rutter leaving post as Francis Scott Key coach after three seasons

Josh Rutter led Francis Scott Key's football team to 11 wins in three seasons (2016-18) after the Eagles went 7-72 over the previous eight seasons.
Josh Rutter led Francis Scott Key's football team to 11 wins in three seasons (2016-18) after the Eagles went 7-72 over the previous eight seasons. (Times File Photo)

Josh Rutter came back to Francis Scott Key High School, his alma mater, as the varsity football coach with expectations to restore a competitive nature to the program.

The Eagles had seven wins over a stretch of eight seasons before Rutter, a former all-county performer at FSK, took over in 2016. Key won 11 games over the past three seasons, and contended for a playoff spot in 2017.

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All of which, Rutter said, made the decision to step down after this fall very difficult. The 32-year-old chose family over football, with four children ranging in age from 8 years to 10 months.

“I talked with my wife to make sure that was definitely what we were wanting,” Rutter said. “That was a huge part of the decision.”

Rutter said his wife’s work schedule helped determine his current professional path, but he’s also looking for more within the school system. Rutter said he’s closing in on fulfilling his administrative certification requirements.

Plus, being able to see his kids pursue their own sports activities will be a nice change of pace, he said.

“It was definitely a tough, tough decision to make,” Rutter said.

After playing at FSK, Rutter put together a solid college football career at William & Mary (Class of 2009) before getting into coaching. He served as an assistant at McDaniel College for three seasons as linebackers coach before returning to Francis Scott Key to coach.

He was the Eagles' linebacker coach for one season and served as defensive coordinator for two years, then took a year off before returning in 2016.

Francis Scott Key went 1-9 in Rutter’s first season as coach, with the Eagles winning their regular-season finale to avoid an 0-10 campaign. Key returned a lot of talent in 2017, and started 3-0 for the first time in more than a decade.

Francis Scott Key football coach Josh Rutter works with wide receivers during practice in Uniontown on Aug. 8, 2018.
Francis Scott Key football coach Josh Rutter works with wide receivers during practice in Uniontown on Aug. 8, 2018. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Led by standout running back Nate Imes, the Eagles went 6-3 (3-3 in Carroll County Athletic League play) and nearly qualified for the Class 1A West Region playoffs.

It was FSK’s first winning season since 2006.

The Baltimore Ravens honored Rutter during the season with a Coach of the Week award.

This fall, the Eagles went 4-6 and averaged 20.6 points per game.

Rutter said he’s pleased with the progress FSK made during his tenure as coach. Rutter said Key’s junior varsity team lost only once in 2018.

“We definitely made some strides,” Rutter said. “We definitely had some more excitement around the program. I think whoever comes in will be able to build on that.”

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Rutter said he won’t be too far from Uniontown on Friday nights in the future — his has two younger brothers working their way up through the football program, and until next fall gets here he’s intent on leading the Eagles’ offseason workout regimens as usual.

“The players that are still there and have worked so hard, they made it really hard to leave,” Rutter said. “I would never want them to feel like they were left high and dry. So we’re still working with them and trying to get them prepared. … I think the kids did a great job buying into what we were looking to sell.”

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