January 23 - In an era where high school head coaches rarely last more than half a decade, Oakton last weekend was able to honor its former skipper that held his post for over three decades.
Tom Hall, the school’s first coach who guided the Cougars from 1968-99, helped highlight Oakton’s inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame class at a ceremony on Friday and a banquet on Saturday.
“On a personal level, Coach Hall means the world to me,” said current Oakton coach Justin Janis, a 1997 graduate of the school who helped plan and attended the Hall of Fame events over the weekend. “He always treated my teammates and I like men and let us go out and play the game.”
Under Hall, the Cougars went 377-288 over 32 seasons, winning four district championships, one region title and advancing to the Group AAA state final in 1982. He holds the Northern Virginia record with 437 all-time victories, having also coached for four seasons at St. John’s (D.C.) and for one year at Madison and Paul VI Catholic.
“His impact on the school is immeasurable,” Janis said. “To teach there for over 20 years, coach the baseball team for 32 years and coach football for over 20 years, you interact with a lot of students and athletes. And when you talk to people that had him as a teacher or coach and listen to how they talk about him and love him, that says it all.
“The people of Oakton, past and present, adore him.”
Joining Hall among the 28 who were inducted were three former standout players - Ned Gonet, Fred Kramer Jr., and Jared Kubin.
Gonet, a 1976 grad, later played both baseball and football at Duke University and has won five private school football state championships as a prep coach in North Carolina. Kramer, a 1982 grad, was a three-sport star at the school and helped pitch the Cougars to the region title and state final as a senior. And Kubin graduated as the school’s all-time leading scorer in boys basketball with 1,658 points and set program records in home runs (26) and RBI (135) before going on to play at the University of Florida.
Offseason Practices to Continue After VHSL Votes Proposal Down
A proposal that would have eliminated offseason practices was voted down earlier today by the Virginia High School League’s executive committee.
With a vote of 29-3-1 against the proposal, the state’s public school governing body affirmed its stance in favor of out-of-season practices. However, the VHSL also indicated it will continue to investigate the issues that have arisen since offseason practices were first allowed during the 2011-12 school year.
“[We] will form a committee to review current out-of-season practice policy focusing on coaching burnout, specialization, over-use, etc.,” VHSL tweeted. “The 24-person committee will be a diverse group with one person representing each region.”
Field Set for Bulldog Spring Break Tournament in April
Fourteen teams are registered for the 2019 Bulldog Spring Break Tournament, which will be held from April 13-18 at four sites in Fairfax and Loudoun counties. The tournament has absorbed the spring break event formerly hosted by Dominion and Loudoun County.
Teams will play four round robin games, followed by a championship game and consolation contests. Host sites are at Westfield, Centreville, Chantilly and Dominion.
The following teams are registered as of Dec. 19: Archbishop Spalding (MD), Centreville, Chantilly, Dominion, Falls Church, George Mason, Grace Academy (MD), Lake Braddock, Narbonne (CA), South County, Stonewall Jackson, Washington-Lee, Westfield and Washington-Lee.
For more information, visit the tournament’s website here.
Former Wakefield Coach Baker Joins West Potomac’s Staff
George Baker, the head coach at Wakefield from 1999-2014, has been hired by first-year West Potomac coach Jimmy Linza as the Wolverines’ new pitching coach.
Baker replaces Chris Giblin, who left to join former West Potomac assistant Scott Nelson’s staff at South County. The Wolverines have two senior right-handers, Tyler Rulapaugh (George Mason) and Jimmy Curley (High Point), who have signed with Division I programs. Junior lefty Adam Fischer is also expected to pitch at the Division I level.
Linza was hired last summer. He has previously served as the head coach at Mount Vernon, Flint Hill and Hayfield, compiling a 130-64 record and winning four district championships in his nine seasons.
Photo of, from left to right, current coach Justin Janis and former coaches Scott Rowland and Tom Hall, courtesy of Oakton Athletics