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Discussion in 'Western Maryland Football' started by BoyznBlue, Jul 21, 2020.
I just heard this from a pretty reliable source, but not anyone directly associated with FH
Cumberland high school football will be less in his absence. I was not one of his advocates, but I certainly can admire talent. Appel was the right man in the right place at the right time and he met the challenge.
He made media coverage of the championship game as important for 1A as all the others... and more so for many of them. FH vs. Dunbar eventually meant more than homecoming... and we can thank Appel for that competition.
He will be missed as a coach..... I will miss him.
A friend of my wife whose son is still on the team said he resigned this morning
Sources: Appel stepping down as Fort Hill coach
Multiple sources are saying that Fort Hill Football Coach Todd Appel has stepped down from the position.
There has been no official confirmation from either the school or Allegany County Public Schools, which is checking after receiving our inquiry.
Appel led the Sentinels to five MPSSAA 1A Championships, won 90% of the games he coached, and is considered one of the top coaches in the state of Maryland.
Rumors were heavy that Coach Appel was considering leaving prior to last season. At that time, assistant Richie Shook was thought to be in line for the job.
UPDATED ON WCBC
July 21st, 2020 by WCBC Radio
A spokesperson for the Allegany County Board of Education has now confirmed that Fort Hill Football Coach Todd Appel has stepped down from the position.
Appel led the Sentinels to five MPSSAA 1A Championships, won 90% of the games he coached, and is considered one of the top coaches in the state of Maryland.
Rumors were heavy that Coach Appel was considering leaving prior to last season. At that time, assistant Richie Shook was thought to be in line for the job. A board spokesman said it is unlikely an official press release will be issued until a replacement is named.
CUMBERLAND — Longtime Fort Hill High School football coach Todd Appel, winner of five state championships, resigned on Tuesday as the second-winningest coach in the school's history.
Appel's resignation was confirmed by Fort Hill Athletic Director Amber Waltz.
Appel coached the Sentinels for 12 years, finishing with an overall record of 142-16 (.898 winning percentage).
Check back later to times-news.com for further updates.
I have nothing but respect for Coach Appel. A good coach who did an excellent job of motivating and organizing young men for many years. My father was a Maryland public school teacher and coach so I understand what the commitment is like. Coaching is obviously in Todd's blood and I think we may see him back on the sidelines sometime in the future.
Appel's a warrior and needs a goal like a championship game... presumably with Dunbar in it. He deserves another shot. He doesn't deserve this year's crap.
Big loss for the FH program and community as a whole. Todd elevated the Sentinels to the best run they've ever been on. I've said it more than once: his run may never be matched.
With that said, I have faith that the program will continue to be very competitive because it seems like he laid the foundation for success that will continue. His model is very proven, so whoever comes in to run the FH program next, which will most likely be an insider, has a great starting point.
Great Coach and a great man who did a fantastic job and demonstrated the utmost in hard work, pride and dedication to his players, school and community. He will be missed and I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.
How come? Seems a little late to be doing so.
Probably not too late. Pretty certain Maryland will not have fall sports
UPDATE: Todd Appel resigns as Fort Hill football coach
11 hrs ago
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Todd Appel, winner of five state championships, resigned as Fort Hill High School football head coach on Tuesday.
Fort Hill head coach Todd Appel, on the ground center, celebrates the Sentinels' third-straight state championship over Havre de Grace in Baltimore at M&T Bank Stadium on Dec. 5, 2015. Appel, who would go on to lead the Sentinels to five state championships, resigned Tuesday as the Sentinels' head coach.
CUMBERLAND — If there is a high school football season in 2020, the Fort Hill Sentinels will be playing it under a new head coach. Todd Appel, who coached Big Red to five state championships in 12 seasons, resigned from his position on Tuesday, effective immediately. It was first confirmed by the school's athletic director, Amber Waltz.
Appel is second in wins all-time at Fort Hill, finishing with a 142-16 record for a school-best .899 winning percentage.
"It's been a blessing to be the Fort Hill football coach," Appel said in an interview with the Times-News on Tuesday. Appel said he will be staying in the field of education, but will be teaching fourth- and fifth-grade students in Worcester County.
"There have been a lot of text messages, but a lot of good ones," Appel said of his Tuesday. "A lot of kids that are men now, working careers, part of your first team, part of your last team and everything in between. It's pretty special. Even though it's a tough transition in your life, you come to the realization that most of it was good. Through hard work, commitment and dedication, it makes you feel good when you get those texts that those kids got something out of it. That's why I started. I was given the opportunity ... I knew high school football was something that helped me for the rest of my life. But I thought that'd be a good thing for me to do."
Appel, who was promoted to the head coach position on Feb. 8, 2008, leaves behind a legacy and culture matched by few programs around the state, winning the Maryland Class 1A state championship four years in a row from 2013-2016, followed up by a title in 2018 to make it five in six years.
The 1987 graduate of Fort Hill succeeded Barry Lattimer.
Appel, a Sentinel assistant coach for 15 years, coached with Lattimer for nine seasons and six seasons for Mike Calhoun. Lattimer is the son of Fort Hill's all-time wins leader Charlie Lattimer, who went 157-40 in 20 seasons as head coach from 1959-1978.
"Barry is one of the most honest people that you'll ever want to meet," Appel said. "Barry was not a politician. ... He was a teacher and a football coach. I learned to try to keep politics out of it and try to keep the external people and things away from the most important thing: the kids. I thought that was a good thing to learn from Barry. He was honest with you, and I appreciate that about him."
After back-to-back two-loss seasons (12-2 in 2006, 10-2 in 2007) prior to Appel's promotion, the success continued for the Sentinels, going 11-2 in his first season and a trip to the state championship game. Fort Hill fell, 20-19, to Dunbar, which featured NFL and West Virginia University standout Tavon Austin.
Since Appel had been the head coach at Fort Hill, plus the two seasons prior, the Sentinels have reached the Class 1A West Region Final every year since 2006, barring the change in playoff structure by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association in 2019, which put Fort Hill in the region co-final. The Sentinels were 12-0 in opening-round games under Appel, outscoring opponents by a combined 520-123 for an average score of 43-10.
In the process, the Sentinels won 10 1A West Region championships and played in seven state finals.
Prior to the 2019 season, Fort Hill had appeared in six consecutive state championship games, which set an MPSSAA record when Fort Hill made their fifth straight appearance in 2017.
"God is good. I really believe that he changed my life," said Appel. "We as a team learned to trust each other through the things we did off the field. Because of that trust, they knew that I had their back and they had mine. When people know you care about them, I think as a group you can do wonderful things. In the external world, one of the critical things as far as winning, achievements, golden trophies and things, God looks at the heart and I was very thankful that he was able to bring that to me and to the kids.
"Along with that, we had some good, loyal coaches that I had each others' back also. Any organization with good leadership, you can trust them. There's been a lot of time spent with those kids. ... It's so cliche that you say (in the huddle) '1-2-3 family,' but we actually were. And I think that's what brought on the external success that the world likes. But the reality of it was we were just happy to be together."
After Appel's inaugural season, the Sentinels went 11-1, 9-4, 12-1 and 9-3 before a run that will go down in the history books.
The Sentinels went 14-0 in 2013 and again in 2014, with state championship wins over Frederick Douglass, of Baltimore, both years, 25-0 and 40-8. The undefeated seasons led to a 29-game win streak — accomplished after Fort Hill beat Clearfield in the season opener in 2015 — that was snapped by Keyser, 48-41, on Sept. 11, 2015, the first loss the Sentinels suffered since Nov. 16, 2012. The 29-straight wins was an area record.
Ho hum, said the Sentinels, who romped Chestnut Ridge, 63-19, the following week, en route to a third consecutive state title with a 44-14 win over Havre de Grace nearly three months after the loss to Keyser.
Fort Hill made it three undefeated seasons in four years with a perfect 14-0 in 2016, capped off with another state title win over Havre de Grace, 35-14, and making it 25 wins straight heading into 2017.
The Sentinels equaled their 29-game win streak when they bowled over Silver Oak, 73-12, and broke the area record the following week with a forfeit win over Westinghouse. Big Red made it 31 in a row with a 56-6 win over Serra Catholic, then made it 32 straight with an emphatic 44-42 win at Greenway Avenue Stadium over Melbourne Central Catholic, of Melbourne, Florida. The Sentinels lost, 24-6, at Friendship Collegiate on Oct. 21, 2017, which was Fort Hill's first loss in over two years. The 32-game win streak is still an area best.
Fort Hill went on to finish the 2017 season at 12-2, falling to Dunbar in the state championship game, 30-26.
Appel's penultimate season as head football coach was another undefeated season, 13-0, with a 20-8 win over Frederick Douglass, of Upper Marlboro, in the state championship game.
The Sentinels went 11-2 in 2019, with a regular-season loss to Cathedral Prep, of Erie, Pennsylvania, before their season came to a halt after a 41-0 loss to eventual state champion Catoctin.
Coaching football in the city of Cumberland is a tall task — and honor — for anyone, regardless of whether it's Fort Hill or Allegany. A solid baseline for area football fans is how they do against the opposing city school. Appel did just about as well as anyone, winning 17 of his 18 meetings with the Campers as head coach of the Sentinels by a combined score of 547-263. Appel's Sentinels were 5-1 against the Campers in the playoffs, with the point differential being seven (117-110).
Oh, and Homecoming? Appel was 12-0, winning those contests by a combined 430-153.
In total, Appel was part of 13 of the school's 14 state championship appearances — seven as head coach, five as an assistant (1994, 1996-1998 and 2006) and one as a player (1986).
Having achieved so much on and off the field, it's understandably difficult for Appel to pinpoint some of his fondest memories.
"There are so many memories," he said. "I've been blessed to be able to have tons of relationships with all kids. All types of socioeconomic. This area of Cumberland, we're just so blessed to have that. The reality of where they come from and trying to learn from them as much as they can learn from you. With the multitude of kids, you can learn a lot."
For Appel, one of the many that he'll always remember was about his family, including his wife Suzanne, daughter Harper and son Walker, who he thanked for everything they've done for him over the years.
"I can go on about specific memories ... but I'll cherish the fact that in my son's senior year, we won a state championship," he said. "But it was one of those state championships that I don't think a lot of people could believe we did that year. Our devotion that day was that miracles happen every day, you just need to know where to look for them.
"In knowing that my family had to sacrifice so much for what I do, for them to be able to stand there at the end of the year, to be able to win a state championship with my son, it was special. ... For us to be able to meet on the field, my son was able to wear the No. 2 jersey that Mike O'Kelly wore. ... Mike was unable to play two weeks after I got the job, and we kind of unofficially retired that jersey ever since. ... But I have a picture of my son standing, watching the football team my very first game as head coach of Fort Hill with the football team singing the fight song with the band. For him to be able to see (my head coaching career) go in, and see it go out, with his dad as head coach, it means so much."
Appel also thanked the countless number of coaches he coached under, and with, over the years
"There are so many favorite teams, so many favorite players ... there's just so many," he said.
Kyle Bennett is a sports reporter for the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @KyleBennettCTN.
I believe Todd Appel will go down as the best Football Coach in Fort Hill History.
it will not be easy to replace him that's for sure, the main thing at FH over the years was the staff was always pretty much the same but the past few years they have lost quite a few of the assistants as well.
I was very surprised to see he was taking a teaching position in Worcester County, I really believed he would either retire altogether from teaching and coaching or take a small college position.
I wish He and His Family The Best
The WoCo guys will definitely try to get him involved once he moves to OC. Snow Hill, Parkside, Bennett and especially Decatur are programs that could all greatly benefit from Todd in some format.
He did an amazing job as the coach. I’m very happy for him that he resigned. You could tell from his Pre game and post game comments that all the criticism was weighing heavily on him. I wish that he was able to shrug it off. He definitely deserves better. Do you know the saying be careful what you wish for. Well Fort Hill gets a new coach and I have a feeling things will never be the same.
Dorchester County Public Schools (DCPS) is currently accepting applications for the position of Head Football Coach at Cambridge-South Dorchester High School (C-SDHS). DCPS is seeking a highly motivated, successful, and experienced high school head football coach to continue all aspects of our program, including: organizing offseason strength and conditioning programs, study hall/tutoring, and assisting athletes to become college and career ready. The history of the C-SDHS Viking football program includes: • Three (3) State football titles • State Finalist seven (7) times • State Semi-Finalist for over 12 years • State playoffs for over 35 years • Only one (1) losing season in its 41 year history
I don't know if there is any way to describe the immense physical and emotional toll being a head coach has on a person. Particularly in the high profile sport at school with tradition Fort Hill football has. The only way one could understand is to actually experience it.
It has become a 24/7 year round job that never stops. Perhaps the only small break one may have is the few weeks after the season concludes. To stay competitive requires non-stop attention to detail, hard work and thousands of behind the scenes hours. Couple all of that with the unreasonable expectations of parents and fans who are never satisified or only act in self-interest and that may be why we don't see people doing it for 30-35 years these days.
No matter how strong you are emotionally it will eventually wear you down. I'm not a Fort Hill alum but I am thankful that our area and Fort Hill had the pleasure of having Todd Appel as a head coach.
As long as those schools are willing to completely revamp everything about the way they do things, and let him run the show the way he wants. This isnt meant to sound negative, but I dont see Todd coaching to "have something to do". There are not many small schools in the state, especially not on the shore, that are quite on par with the way Todd would want to run things. We take for granted how ingrained football is in our culture up here, and Todd grew up as a part of that and continued it with the way he ran the show.
But if they're willing to let him do it, it would be interesting to see.
That is a very important part of building a strong program in any sport at a high school. Culture and the cooperation of the administration to allow coaches to do the things necessary to create that culture.
Fort Hill's tradition of excellence in football is because of that culture. One example of that is how they had the ability to run their conditioning program in the middle of the school day every day year round. Administrative support is required to do that and also to have allowed Coach Appel to run it. Those kids worked hard the benefits were seen of the field.
Compare that to schools or sports who must do that after the school day. It makes it tough for the multi-sports athletes. There are a multitude of decisions that create and support that culture.
Unless you're in one of those football crazy towns in Fl, TX, Ohio, you're going to find more restrictions on coaches. The problems at Damascus was in part caused by a lack of oversight of the football program. Carter was a "sports guy" but I heard even he's going to tighten up the purse strings at BW because the basketball program lost money last season.
I agree with what you and FHHSAHS are basically saying, he's not going to find the same situation that he had in Cumberland. FH probably has more financial and athletic resources and community support than any 1A school in the state. And yes, the kids work very hard.
Did anybody hear his interview on the radio almost a week ago? I was waiting to see what others had to say but if you have a chance take a listen. I was one that strongly believed he was very unhappy and needed a change for his mental health. It seems like it may have been way worse than most of outsiders even suspected. So much emotion, implications about people targeting players and the unnecessary harshness of fans and expectations at FH, yet he still praised the school, program, fans, coaches, saying how grateful and blessed to have had the experience. He said countless ex-players have overwhelming thanked him for everything he did but not one of them thanked him for winning, it was all about the mentorship, family atmosphere. As we all know in the heat of the moment he said some things in post game interviews that were not always complimentary or even fair game to mention about his players. You could take away he felt the need to make sure everybody knew how popular he was, or maybe he just wanted them to know he was grateful for them also. Regardless, he says he wants to coach again and I think we all should wish him nothing but the best for all he did and gave to the program.
Once a certain administrative person faces the backlash coming HER way about Todd leaving and resigns, I think Todd will be back coaching at Fort Hill.
Doubtful, the amount of fire he came under while on the job at FH was incredibly taxing on him. That's most of the reason that he's deciding to go away. He's gonna go to Worcester county, and frankly I'm not sure if he'll ever come back.
Didn't know if anyone would actually post the conflict and head butts that must have happened. If you saw his wife's post on facebook, things werent peachy in RedLandia
If you ever took a good hard look at the guy over the past year or so you could tell that there was a lot weighing on him. I'm not going to pretend to know all about the administrative stuff with that change, but I know his relationship with Carter was a great one.
Plus, if you goggle the pay scale difference between the 2 counties, he could make an extra $150,000- $200,000 before retirement
Just to clarify, it was taxing on him because of the pressure he put on himself - no one anywhere required him to be at the school until 9 at night or through the summer, etc. He chose to run the program the way he ran it, because that's what he dedicated every moment of his life to. And that's his prerogative, but let's just make sure we don't lose sight of the fact that he put himself in the position he was in. Right, wrong, or indifferent.
As far as the "do we talk about it or do we not talk about it" stuff between him and the school admin - the only thing I will say is...your boss is your boss. And just because things used to be done a certain way doesnt mean that's how it will always be. Long and short of it...as you said HSFB, he wont be back.
I'd be inclined to partially agree with you. The guy put a lot of pressure on himself and it often created more problems for him, but I'm not sure the program is where it is without him doing that. In terms of the back and forth with the administrative stuff, I just hope Richie or whoever has an easier go of it. I dont think the subject of the conflict there should be avoided, but I personally dont know anything past there being conflict
I'm glad that he's out. As a friend, I think he'll be better for it. I find it to be cruely ironic that the man who achieved some of the highest heights in the history of the program will go out with his final game going the way it did, but that's how the whole song and dance normally goes
You make some excellent points. There's a lot to be said about delegating and trusting in those you surround yourself with. When somebody thinks they are the only one who can do things it can become overwhelming no matter what your job. Your other point about things changing is on point. Who hasn't had a job that changed when a boss changed.
Indeed. When you realize all the other great coaches, Lattimer, Sr and Calhoun at FH. Refosco and Gilmore at Alco, all lost their final games.
Wow, did not know that.
Only one that did not was Bill Hahn. He went with a win against ALCO his last game. Of course not as overall successful at Wheaton.
And on the other topic. I guess we now know that Green Spring ain't South Cumberland.
You are correct. Shame on me for forgetting Coach Hahn.