Longtime Arundel High jayvee coach and varsity assistant Bill Zucco has been selected as the new head football coach at the Gambrills school.
Zucco, who has been at the school since 1966 as a social studies instructor, succeeds Buddy Hepfer, who announced his resignation this spring after 15 seasons and overall record of 93-61 as the Wildcats' coach.
"We feel we hired the best man for the job in Bill," said Athletic Director Bernie Walter. "Bill has been around our program a long time, starting with the late Jerry Mears and then later working with Buddy Hepfer."
Zucco said he "never had any intention of replacing Buddy," but is "excited for the opportunity."
Zucco was one of five candidates interviewed for the position. Fellow assistants Bob Beauchemin and Dave Maka as well as Scott Cofiell and Rob Smith were interviewed by Walter and Principal Ken Catlin.
Cofiell, a former assistant in several sports at Brooklyn Park and Andover, has been coaching semipro football in Finland the past few years. Smith has been an assistant coach at both the John Carroll School in Harford County and Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.
Zucco was either jayvee head coach or an assistant in the Wildcats' program from 1966-1977 before stepping down. When Hepfer asked him to return in 1989, Zucco resumed the reins of the Wildcat jayvee. Two years ago his team was 10-0.
Last year's Arundel jayvee went 5-5, putting Zucco's career jayvee record at 55-14-1. In eight seasons as jayvee coach, Zucco won or shared five county championships.
The 50-year-old Zucco, who is assistant athletic director to Walter, was the Wildcats' head basketball coach from 1977-1983 and assisted in softball for four years.
"There is no question that Bill is very experienced and well-qualified for the position," said Walter.
Arundel (4-6 last fall) has not had a winning season since 1985 when Hepfer led them to a 9-2 mark.
"It's going to be a big challenge and I hope I can get the program back to where Buddy had it a few years ago," said Zucco.