When Winters Mill High School opens its doors in the fall, the playing fields will be green ... but not the coaches.
The school has announced its coaching staff for the fall season, which includes several recognizable names from both in and out of the county.
Among them are Liberty football coach Ken Johnson and Westminster girls soccer and softball coach Bryan Shumaker, each of whom has led teams to state championships.
Others named to the staff include Westminster girls cross country coach Sarah Ensor, former Liberty cross country coach Ken Fischer (for the boys team), former Dundalk volleyball coach Steve Krouse, and former national field hockey team member and North Carroll standout Amber Gatts.
Tim Pennell, who coached Aztec (N.M.) High School to a Class AAA state title in 1994, will coach boys soccer; Kyle Walker and Dan Gourley, who together launched the golf club at Shiloh Middle, will coach golf; and Kirstie Trump, a former dance team member at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, will coach the cheerleaders.
"I think experience is tremendously important because they all already know what to expect, from an organization standpoint, to ordering equipment, to dealing with the community," said North Carroll athletic director Bill Rumbaugh, who will take over the AD's role at Winters Mill following this school year. "It just lets us start a step ahead."
The process sparked interest from dozens of county coaches. Following the deadline for applications Dec. 18, Rumbaugh and school officials whittled their list to anywhere from three to five applicants per sport before making their final decisions.
The school will play a junior varsity schedule during its first year, then begin fielding varsity teams in 2003.
Johnson, who hasn't coached at the J.V. level for two decades, said he looks forward to the challenge.
"I've been a head coach for 18 years, but this is still one facet of it that I've never been a part of," Johnson said. "The idea of starting a program from the beginning is invigorating. It's sort of like a once-in-a-career opportunity. I just couldn't pass it up."
Johnson has spent the past nine seasons at Liberty. Prior to that, he spent four seasons at Chesapeake-BC and five at Randallstown, leading each of those teams to three state playoff appearances.
In 1984, his Randallstown team claimed the Class 4A state title.
Shumaker has guided Westminster's girls soccer team since 1997. In 1999, his team captured the Class 4A state title, earning him honors as both The Sun's All-Metro Coach of the Year and State Coach of the Year.
Last spring, Shumaker's first as Westminster softball coach, he led the Owls to a Class 4A state title, and was named county Coach of the Year.
Rumbaugh said that the school likely will name winter coaches in March, once the current season is over. Spring coaches will be named toward the end of the school year.