The fall sports season is officially underway with local high school teams reporting to practices this past Monday.
The biggest “old” news is that Newark High School will play in Division 2 and the Blue Hen Flight B conference for the first time in school history. The Yellowjackets join school district members Glasgow and Christiana, which made the move to D2 several years ago.
Also, there will be no more Friday night lights at Hoffman Stadium, at least this season. The one exception is the opening game on Sept. 6 against Glasgow, when the school is having temporary lighting installed so that the ceremony naming the field after former coach Butch Simpson can be done on a Friday night under the lights.
“We are excited to be able to have this game played at night, as a day game to rename the field for Butch Simpson just doesn’t seem to fit,” athletic director Jason Bedford said.
It’s a fitting and very nice move by the Yellowjacket higher-ups.
Butch Simpson Field was sodded with Bermuda grass and, according to Bedford, went through its final phase of a three-stage process in late July so should be ready for the opening game. Three of the remaining home games are scheduled for Saturdays at 10:30 a.m., and the Oct. 5 homecoming game is at noon. The complete schedule is at www.yellowjacketssports.com.
Jody Russell is the new head coach, taking over for Barry Zehnder, whom he coached under last season. Russell was a three-sport all-state athlete in the 1990s and no stranger to being a head coach having served in that role for 15 years at the Tatnall School.
The only other coaching change for fall sports at Newark is girls soccer coach Mike James has taken over the boys squad.
Down the road at Glasgow High, Jeremy Jeanne has resigned as athletic director to take the same position at Delaware Military Academy.
“I will never forget what we built … continue to be great,” Jeanne wrote in an email to the Glasgow staff.
Jeanne served in many roles while at Glasgow including French teacher, head boys basketball coach, Vice President of Delaware Association of Athletic Directors, National Interscholastic Athletic Association of Athletic Administrators Section 2 Delaware delegate, National LTI instructor for the NIAAA and member of the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association board of directors.
During his tenure, Dragon teams won four Flight B conference championships, and the athletic department was honored with the DIAA State Sportsmanship award three times. Initiatives started under Jeanne’s direction included the Glasgow Cares community service program, Sportsmanship Student Advisory Committee, end-of-year athletic award ceremony and the Special Olympics Unified and E-Sports programs. Glasgow also upgraded its weight room and built a team film room.
Ernest “Tank” Cunningham is the new head coach for the Dragons’ football squad, taking over for Michael Richardson. Cunningham comes to Glasgow after serving as an assistant for several years in South Jersey. Cunningham’s son, Ja’saan, starred on the 2016 Glasgow team that won the Flight B championship.
Glasgow volleyball player Ondrea Boyer was one of six student-athletes selected to represent Delaware at the National Student Leadership Summit, which was hosted by the National Federation of State High School Associations on July 22-24 in Indianapolis. Boyer also attended the 2019 DIAA Student Leadership Conference held in Lewes.
At Christiana High, Mike Kinlaw is the new football head coach, replacing Virgil Rush, who coached the Vikings for six seasons.