Oakdale head coach Kurt Stein was given a unique opportunity when he was hired as the school’s first head football coach in 2010. Stein was given the opportunity to build a program from the ground up.
Based on his success thus far, Stein will be the standard by which all future Oakdale football coaches will be judged, but eight years in, he is just reaching his prime with the Bears, who are 5-0 in 2018 after humbling defending 3A state champion Linganore, 56-7, last Friday.
The victory in what was billed as the “Game of the Year” in Frederick County shocked many, not because Oakdale came out on top, but in how easily it did so. The performance earned Stein recognition as this week’s Baltimore Touchdown Club Coach of the Week.
“When you play a team a great as Linganore you just hope that when the game is over you have one more point then them,” said Stein of the match-up with the Lancers. “You always expect and prepare for the game to be close.”
The game was close, for one quarter.
Oakdale, however, broke an early 7-7 tie with 42 unanswered points in the second quarter and shocked the host Lancers by playing the entire second half under a running clock on its way to a 56-7 rout.
“I was, and still am, extremely blessed to be given this opportunity 9 years ago,” said Stein, who guided the Bears on the JV level for one year before the program moved to varsity status in 2011. “I am honored every single day that I put on my silver and black clothing. We have worked hard and built from the ground up. It certainly wasn't, and still isn't easy, but we couldn't be more proud of where we have come, and hopefully will continue to go.”
Stein and Oakdale certainly paid their dues early. The Bears were 0-10 in 2011 and 2-8 the following fall. In 2013 the team posted its first winning season, at 6-4, and have not failed to win at least eight games in each season since. The high-water mark was an 11-3 record in 2016, followed by a 9-3 record last year. The coach is now 47-33 in his varsity career.
Stein, who began his coaching career on the JV level at Catoctin High School, has his team focused on the goal of winning the school’s first state title at the Naval Academy at the end of the year.
“The only way to get to the finish line, is to focus on where you are now,” said Stein. “If we want to play in Annapolis then we need to continue to get better every week. We are not where need to be yet to be able to call ourselves Champions, but hopefully if we work hard enough we can get there.”
Stein spoke of the honor of being recognized by the BTC.
“It means a lot, I know how hard every single high school coach works each week. The hours put in by all of the men promoting our game and helping young people is staggering. Our state is lucky to have these people helping to raise young men. For those who work that hard, to feel that I deserved to be honored is humbling.”
Stein also noted the work of his coaching staff in his team’s success. They are:
Andrew "Doc" Hirshorn - Defensive Coordinator Bob Lociciero - Special Teams Coordinator / RB Matt McVay - DL Todd Hylton - LB Charlie Dunn - DB / Quality Control Chuck Welch - WR Sam Grienier - OL
Stein closed his comments by praising the work of the Baltimore Touchdown Club.
“The BTC and high school football is one of the great fabrics of our country. I feel that high school football is one of the last defenses we have in this country to help teach young boys to be men.
“We have a Vince Lombardi quote that hangs in our locker room that reads ‘Football is a great deal like life in that it teaches that work, sacrifice, perseverance, competitive drive, selflessness and respect for authority is the price that each and everyone one of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.’ I am not sure more true words have ever been spoken.”