September 18 - One of the area’s most-successful coaches over the past four years, Patriot’s Josh Steinberg, was told this morning that his contract would not be renewed, the magazine has learned.
The decision comes after school administration left the 2017 6A North Region Coach of the Year and two-time league Coach of the Year in limbo regarding his status for over a week.
Steinberg was initially informed by the school’s director of student activities, Brad Qualls, of his decision on Sept. 9, the coach’s first day back from paternity leave following the birth of his first child. Reports indicate Qualls asked Steinberg to resign, a request the coach rebuffed. The school’s principal, Mike Bishop, was unaware of the meeting or Qualls’ intentions and on Sept. 10 he placed Steinberg in a holding pattern until he was able to meet with Qualls.
It wasn’t until this morning that they met with the coach and revealed their decision.
“It’s too bad, I feel for the guy. He’s one of the best-prepared coaches that my teams have competed against,” Centreville coach Scott Rowland said. “It’s hard to find good coaches period, and you fire one of the best coaches in the state of Virginia? I think it’s B.S.”
Added Madison coach Mark ‘Pudge’ Gjormand: “I was surprised by that because he’s a class guy and he’s a really good baseball coach.”
Since he took the reins prior to the 2016 season following the departure of Sammy Serrano, the 31-year-old Steinberg guided Patriot to a 67-24 record, two league championships and to the Class 6 state tournament in 2017. That spring, he led the Nokesville school to the region final before falling to Oakton.
The Pioneers reached the regional tournament in each of Steinberg’s four seasons, winning at least one game in the tournament each year.
“The program has flourished, just look at the record over the past four years,” said Jaden Minnick, who graduated in June and is now playing at Montgomery College in Maryland. “Over my four years, I’ve seen every player progress and get better in their time there.”
Steinberg played at Gar-Field for current Battlefield coach Jay Burkhart, then played at George Mason University. He served as an assistant at Patriot for two seasons and has coached for a number of years with the Marucci Stars travel program.
“Josh is a stand-up guy,” Burkhart said. “Always a tough competitor as an athlete and a coach. He has been instrumental in helping kids and a huge asset to the baseball community.“
Added Osbourn Coach Andrew Haden: “Josh is a class act on and off the field. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve come across and is a role model to his student athletes and everyone he encounters. Very shocked by the news I saw.”
Qualls and Bishop did not return several attempts to reach them.
Photo of Josh Steinberg by Fred Ingham