Randy Wallenhorst hopes that the Glenelg High School's girls basketball faithful don't look for miracles from him. What they can expect, he says, is plenty of other good signs.
"I may not know everything there is to know about basketball, but I'm enthusiastic, I'm energetic and I'm willing to work hard," said Wallenhorst, who will replace Chuck Struhar as the Gladiators' coach this fall. "I'll be there as long as Glenelg is willing to have me. I plan on being there for a while."
Wallenhorst, a 24-year-old physical education teacher at Forest Ridge Elementary School, coached the junior varsity girls basketball team at Oakland Mills for the past three years. He becomes the fourth coach at Glenelg over the last four seasons.
Struhar spent 13 years turning the Gladiators into a perennial county title contender before resigning in 1988. Russ Sellers then coached the Gladiators for two years, before Barb Wolf took over in 1990. Struhar rejoined the team last year, when he guided Glenelg to the Class 2A state title game against Hammond, the eventual champion.
For Wallenhorst, the job represents a double-edged challenge. It marks his first opportunity to run a program, and his chance comes at a time when the Gladiators are going through a transitional stage. Glenelg lost three key seniors -- Sarah Jones, Jenny Leedom and All-County point guard Tanissa Dorsey -- to graduation.
"It's a great position. They play great basketball up there, and they seem to have a lot of support for their sports teams at Glenelg," Wallenhorst said. "I know we probably lost about 50 points a game (to graduation), but I think it's still a good team. I'm not expecting miracles, but I think we can stay in the middle of the pack."
Wallenhorst is a native of Rochester, N.Y., who graduated from Arcadia High School, where he played basketball. He went on to graduate in 1989 from Cortland State (N.Y.) University before beginning his teaching career at Deep Run Elementary School three years ago.
Glenelg Principal Jim McGregor likes numerous things about Wallenhorst, beginning with his age and the timing of the move.
"He is at that age when he's got the experience and the enthusiasm to do it. I'm trying to bring in guys who are hungry," McGregor said. "We're going to be in a rebuilding stage, no doubt about it. It's a matter of him being able to handle expectations in that first year. I think he will. I see longevity with him.
"He also comes highly recommended by people I respect a great deal, guys like [Mount Hebron coach Dave] Greenberg."
Said Wallenhorst: "I look at a program like Mount Hebron's. Since I've moved to Maryland, that's all I've heard about. Howard County basketball can still go a lot further. I want to build a program that has unparalleled success."