Earl Lauer, 69, is returning to coaching as Atholton's girls cross country coach this season. Lauer spent 44 consecutive years from 1971 to 2015 coaching cross country, wrestling, indoor and outdoor track and allied sports at Glenelg, Atholton and River Hill. When Earl's son, Brandon, was hired as the athletics and activities manager at River Hill in 2015, Howard County policy on nepotism forced Earl out of coaching the Hawks cross country and track teams after nearly 20 years. "It was pretty tough. The break wasn't something I had planned to do or wanted to do," said Lauer, who was The Baltimore Sun All-Metro girls cross country Coach of the Year his last season with the Hawks after winning region and state titles and earned the National Federation of State High School Associations Coaches Association National Coach of the Year Award in 2012. "I wasn't ready to quit." Now he's back at Atholton, the school where he spent 23 years from 1973 to 1996 leading numerous programs.