Eighth-year Lions' head coach is the first two-time winner of the award
When a team has success in football, it often transitions from the hunter to the hunted. Many squads, from high school to the pros, crumble under such a role reversal, but this is not the case at Howard High School in 2015 where the Lions are off to a 5-0 start after a breakthrough campaign in 2015.
The man behind this success is eighth year head coach Bruce Strunk, who has the distinction of being the first person in the two-year history of the Baltimore Touchdown Club Coach of the Week Award to earn the honor twice, following his club’s 29-22 victory over league rival Oakland Mills, last Friday.
Strunk, who first claimed the BTC honor last November, has now guided his squad to 19 consecutive regular season victories. He said his team relishes its role as a favorite.
“It's not a lot different. We told the players all summer that they carried that "X" on their chest and that was a badge of success,” said Strunk. “It's what our guys have been working for and what they have earned. It's an honor for them to always get the respect of other teams and their best efforts.”
Achieving the success in Howard County is also a great source of pride for the coach.
“Howard county plays great football. Period,” Strunk emphasized. “We have dedicated players, great coaching and fantastic community support. We have a lot of parity the last few years which keeps our league highly competitive.”
Strunk was also quick to point out that his program’s success has a great deal to do with the work put in by his assistants.
“We are fortunate to have a great coaching staff that dedicates many of hours in and out of season to our players' successes,” said Strunk. “We have been together for a long time and each contribute in their own special way.”
The staff includes Tony Reid, Jon Pieper, Greg Prestel, Geoff Cieniro, Mike Ritucci, and Mike Twardowicz. On behalf of those coaches and his team, Strunk stated the BTC award is great recognition for all of them.
“It's an honor to have your program mentioned with some of the great ones in the area. This award lets our players and staff know that we are on the right track and working hard. Although this award goes to the head coach, this is a program award from a great organization.”
Stunk expanded on his appreciation for the work of the BTC.
“I was fortunate to be on the founders board of The BTC 20 years ago,” said Strunk. “Mike Working had a great vision and the future leadership kept that vision alive. I can't say enough about the role that the BTC plays for so many high school football players with its promotion of football, and our athletes in the region and state. The BTC leadership/members love kids and the sport of football.”