Coaching Continuity Strengthens CHS Teams


Photo Courtesy of Zach Jacobs

Senior Andrew Kurapov skates toward the goal in a Jan. 27 game agaisnt Wootton. The Bulldogs won 6-3 and clinched first place for the playoffs.

By Will Hyland, Production Editor

With a combined 12 titles over the past decade, the CHS ice hockey, girls soccer and boys lacrosse teams have been three of the most successful teams at CHS. The reason for the success, however, isn’t entirely due to an overflow in all-met talent.

All three teams have found success through lack of change in their coaching staffs.

“Maintaining continuity in an athletic program of any kind is vital to its long term success,” boys lacrosse head coach Jeffrey Fritz said. “For the coaching staff, we all understand each other’s abilities and work as well with each other off the field as our players have to on the field.”

Varsity I ice hockey head coach Ray Mckenzie echoed Fritz’s sentiments, emphasizing that retaining a similar staff from past seasons is vital to the team’s success.

“All of our coaches are on the same page as far as teaching the kids how to play the right way, what we expect of the kids both on and off the ice, what systems we use which are the same through all three teams,” Mckenzie said. “The kids are familiar with the coaching styles and what we expect, so it makes things run smoother for sure.”

Keeping his staff together has worked wonders for Mckenzie, helping CHS dominate competition over the past decade.

According the Montgomery Student High School League, CHS has been to six state title games, winning five of them, during Mckenzie’s 12 year tenure. Both of those totals are by far the most of any other school over that time span.

Girls soccer head coach Haroot Hakopian, who completed his 15th season as head coach this past fall, believes that although retaining the same staff does help, there are other factors that contribute to the team’s success.

“It is important to maintain continuity in a coaching staff but it is even more important to have a well established foundation and expectations that go beyond simply the people who coach a team,” Hakopian said.

Girls soccer has been highly successful over the last four years, compiling a 43-7-5 record and reaching the Maryland 4A state semi-finals in 2015.

Fritz, who is entering his 25th season as head coach, has also enjoyed a great deal of success helping CHS become one of the top teams in state over the last few years.

According to a May 19 Bethesda Magazine article, CHS has won four Class 4A/3A West Region titles over the past five seasons, reaching the state championship game in 2015.

However a prime example of how lack of continuity in the coaching staff can negatively affect the results on the field is varsity football.

According to the Washington Post, CHS has compiled a 3-16 record over the past two seasons and has just hired their third head coach, former CHS defensive coordinator Willie Williams, in as many seasons after head coach Albert Song stepped down for personal reasons.

In contrast, Fritz hopes to continue to maintain the stability hoping it may lead to a possible state championship.

“This continuity will help future teams and hopefully bring us a state championship,” Fritz said.