WOODSIDE — David Eilers stopped being Polytech High’s head football coach a decade ago.
But he never stopped teaching and coaching at the school — and he never stopped believing in its potential.
So when the chance to be the Panthers’ head football coach came around again, Eilers took it.
The 47-year-old biology teacher was officially approved as Polytech’s new coach on Tuesday night.
Eilers takes over for Bobby Gilmore, who retired as a teacher and coach at the end of the school year. Eilers, who is a baseball assistant coach at Polytech, will jump right into preseason camp, which starts on Monday.
It was Gilmore who got Eilers back into coaching football as defensive coordinator two years ago.
“I’ve always been committed to Polytech,” said Eilers, who has taught at the school since 2006. “I want the best for this place.
“Bobby approached me when he became the head coach and said, ‘Listen, I want you to be part of rebuilding our program. I need your help.’ ... I’ve always wanted to help out in any way that I could. Bobby asking me was like the spark. I’m excited.”
“I’ve always felt that David is a good football guy,” said Polytech athletic director George Eilers, David’s brother. “He just felt like he wanted to give it another try. We felt like it was a good fit for us at this time.
“He’s familiar with the kids. He’s familiar with what kind of goals we’ve got in place. I think he’s ready to run with it.”
In Eiler’s first stint as head coach, from 2008-12, the Panthers went 10-40. That included a 4-6 mark in 2010.
Success has mostly been elusive for Polytech’s football program during its history, though.
Last year Polytech was put in Class 1A as part of the state’s new football classification system. The move should give the Panthers a chance to be more competitive. Polytech finished 4-6 last fall.
Most importantly, the number of players in the program has increased.
“That was our first goal — to get the interest back in the football program,” said Eilers. “Our freshman class last year was just phenomenal. We had a large number of kids so that’s a great thing.”
Eilers will also have a veteran coaching staff to work with, including Tom Smith, Stanley Burris, Torrie James, Chris Chappell, Donald Downes and Keith Dittoe.
“That’s a big help,” said Eilers. “That’s a big reason why I was able to take the head coaching spot — because I have all their support.
“Not only do I have the support of the football staff but the adminisration has been very supportive. They’ve been helping build back the program as well. They’ve helped out getting us everything that we need to make the program successful.”
A graduate of Caesar Rodney, where he played quarterback and defensive back. Eilers played safety in college at Western Maryland.
The Panthers open the season on Sept. 9 by hosting A.I. DuPont. Eilers said he’s ready for the challenge.
“Being in the division we’re in has helped us,” said Eilers. “But obviously it doesn’t guarantee success. We’ve still got to go out there and challenge our kids to work hard every day. We’ve taken small steps but we’ve still got a long way to go.”
Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 302-741-8227 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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