February 7 - With just over a week remaining before the season begins, Freedom High School in Woodbridge remains without a head coach for its baseball program.
The Eagles have been without a coach since the third week of July, when Rich Davila informed the school’s director of student activities, Steve Bryson, that he would not be returning for a second season. Davila led Freedom to a 1-18 season last spring, then stepped down in July due to a number of factors, including a perceived lack of commitment by the school to the baseball program that is shared by many in the baseball community.
Davila has since been hired as the junior varsity coach at Patriot.
The coaching vacancy was listed earlier this winter on the Prince William County Public Schools website, but the advertisement was removed on Feb. 3. It’s unclear if any interviews have since been conducted for the position. Northern Virginia high school baseball head coaching vacancies are generally filled within a couple months, as coaches are encouraged to run voluntary offseason practices and workouts.
Bryson responded via email on Feb. 1 that “We have not hired anyone at this time”, a day after the school’s principal, Inez Bryant, wrote via email that, “At this time we do not have a baseball coach. The position has been posted”.
Last year, the position remained vacant for nine months until Davila was identified by members of the Prince William baseball community and recommended to Bryson. He was hired four days prior to the season beginning. The prior year, the Eagles also went the entire offseason without a coach and Bryson did not hire one until tryouts had already begun and a teacher at the school, Eric Richmond, volunteered to coach the team.
Freedom snapped an area-high 59-game losing streak with a 14-8 win on April 30 against Park View, but continues to struggle to gain traction with its baseball program at a school that has sent two boys programs, basketball and football, to the state tournament in recent years. The Eagles’ football team won the Region 6C championship and advanced to the Class 6 state final in the fall.
Freedom’s next coach will be its eighth in nine years. The 2019 season begins on Feb. 18, the first day Virginia High School League allows its spring sports teams to conduct tryouts and practices.