Rookie head coach has his Wildcats off to a 3-0 start
It’s never surprising to see an Arundel football team off to a strong start, but there was more than a bit of curiosity about the Wildcats heading into 2018, the team’s first in 18 years without long-time head coach Chuck Markiewicz, who stepped down in January.
Markiewicz won 146 games at Arundel and 243 in 31 years as a head coach in Anne Arundel County, winning a state championship at North County in 1994. He reached the state semifinals with Arundel twice and the state championship game once. He also coached at Meade and Chesapeake.
With one of the prize pupils in Markiewicz’s coaching tree — Jack Walsh — taking over this fall, however, Arundel has not missed a beat through its first three games.
Last week in a battle of unbeaten teams in AA County, Arundel rolled to a 42-20 win over South River, earning Walsh recognition as this week’s Baltimore Touchdown Club Coach of the Week.
Walsh, who played under Markiewicz at North County and coached with him at Arundel for seven years, said he was honored long before his BTC recognition.
“It is an absolute honor to not only be the seventh coach in Arundel High School's history but also take over following the career of Coach Markiewicz,” said Walsh, who played his college ball at Frostburg State. “There is a lot of responsibility that goes along with following up a legend and it is something that our staff and myself do not take lightly.”
Despite all he learned from Markiewicz, who is now an assistant on the staff at Archbishop Spalding, his mentor encouraged him to do it his own way.
“The biggest piece of advice that Coach Markiewicz has given me is to put my own "spin" on the program,” added Walsh. “We talk often and his continued support is greatly appreciated.”
The biggest key to Arundel’s early success in 2018, according to Walsh, has been its work ethic.
“Our staff has brought a show up, and work mentality to every singly workout, practice and game since we took over and our players have fully embraced the mindset and team culture that has been set.
“We have played good defense and our offense has continued to develop each week. The best thing about being 3-0 right now is that they were all quality wins against playoff caliber teams. I feel like our team is ‘Battle Tested’ at this early point of the season.”
Walsh’s staff includes:
Dave Doy - OC/QB's Jason Gilman - DC/DL Evan Jones - SP. Teams/ LB's Alec Lemon - WR's Brian Edmonds - DB's Vinnie Elliott - JV HC Phil Slye - JV OC/QB Barry Kitchen - JV WR/DB Austin Eagle - JV OL/DL
Although remaining true to core principles of the program, Walsh has begun to add a few of his own wrinkles.
“Arundel Football has always been about diligent work ethic and accountability to the team,” he stated. “We believe that is the core of our program and drive the actions of our coaches and our players. Something that I have added is the recognition of some individual achievements that help the team be successful. We have Goal Charts posted in the locker room and we celebrate achieving those goals. I want the players to have the time of their lives while they are at Arundel.”
Walsh expressed pride over being honored by his coaching peers in the BTC.
“It is quite an honor to be recognized by the BTC and fellow coaches. It is humbling to say the least. I believe it is a direct reflection of the work that our staff and players have put in. Their support and buy-in has been critical to our early success this year.”
Walsh is also for grateful for the efforts of the BTC with local football.
“Having an organization like the BTC is critical to the growth of the game of football in the local communities,” said Walsh. “It is a great way to recognize young student-athletes for their achievements both on and off the field and the BTC does a fantastic job promoting these players to help them transition into the college ranks by getting them exposure. The BTC also does an outstanding job at establishing a comaraderie between coaches and opposing teams.”