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In five years, Ed Hottle took Gallaudet's football program from a moribund club team to an NCAA Division III winner. Today, he will be named the first football coach at Stevenson University in Owings Mills, where he hopes to do the same.

"I'm honored to be the first guy," Hottle, 37, said Tuesday. "It'll be a colossal undertaking but I look forward to the challenge."

Stevenson has scheduled a news conference Wednesday morning to introduce its coach, who beat out three other finalists for the job. The school expects to field a developmental football team in 2010, with plans to begin intercollegiate play the following year.

"We want to be up and running as quick as possible," Hottle said. "I've been [to Stevenson] before, but my first step is to take a campus tour, so that when I hit the road [to recruit], I can sell it."

A 1999 graduate of Frostburg State, Hottle has coached previously as an assistant at both Denison University and Wesley College. He also spent a year as head coach at Prince Frederick's Calvert High in 2004.

But it was at Gallaudet, in Washington, the world's leading university for the deaf and hearing-impaired, where Hottle built the reputation that earned him the post at Stevenson.

In 2007 - two years after having taken over at Gallaudet - Hottle led the Bison to a 4-6 mark in Division III, the same classification in which Stevenson will compete. In 2009, Gallaudet went 6-4 and finished second in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference, where Hottle was named Coach of the Year.

"Ed knows how to build a program from scratch," said Michael Weinstock, athletic director at Gallaudet. "He hates to lose, that's his strength. Ed worked 80 hours a week during football season, and that says a lot."

Hottle sent him a text message Tuesday morning, saying that he had accepted the Stevenson job, Weinstock said.

"It's a big loss for us, but at the same time we're happy for Ed if this is what he really wants," Weinstock said. "When he first arrived here, he didn't know any [sign language]. But he picked it up quickly and became very fluent.

"He really put our football program on the map, and I appreciate that."

Hottle said he was drawn to Stevenson "by the energy of the place" and the chance to shape a team from scratch.

"Everything is brand new, and it's important that we do this correctly," he said, adding that he'll likely start canvassing for student-athletes before he assembles a coaching staff in coming months.

"Recruiting is like shaving. Ignore it for a day and you look bad," Hottle said.

As for his staff, he said, "it's important they understand football's role on campus, and that we're only a cog in the wheel and not the wheel. We're going to make this [football] thing fit into the existing fabric of the university."

Stevenson officials refused comment, saying they would issue a statement at the news conference. President Kevin J. Manning declined to speak to The Baltimore Sun.

Hottle lives in Lothian in Anne Arundel County, with his wife and three children. A native of Northern Virginia, he has both a bachelor's degree in physical education and a masters in education from Frostburg, where he played nose guard on the football team.

Stevenson, formerly Villa Julie College, was an all-women's school from its founding in 1947 until 1972. Men are still a minority of the 2,800 students, though the Mustangs do compete in eight men's varsity sports (11 for women).

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