AVON LAKE — The man is back.
Longtime Avon Lake football coach Dave Dlugosz will return to lead the Shoremen this season. First reported last week in The Chronicle-Telegram, the move was made official Tuesday at the Avon Lake school board’s monthly meeting.
“It’s like a rebirth,” said Dlugosz, who has won 18 conference championships, a state title (2003) and had a state runner-up finish (2004) in 21 years before retiring after the 2012 season. “I was sitting back as a retired guy and all of a sudden the school gave me this opportunity again. I thought it was a good opportunity for the kids especially.
“I’ve lived in Avon Lake all my life and have always felt it was an honor to have the opportunity to represent the city I grew up in and the high school I graduated from and now I get that opportunity again. I’m excited about it.”
Longtime Midview football coach Bill Albright, who stepped down last season after 28 years as head coach, will be the team’s offensive coordinator.
“I still wanted to coach football at some level,” Albright said. “I did explore a couple opportunities, but I’m at the point in my career that I wanted to get away from the administrative part of being a head coach and just get back into the actual coaching. It’s hard to give up Friday nights.
“I loved my time at Midview and will always remember my time there. I’ll always be a Middie, but this a new chapter in my coaching career and I’m looking forward to it.”
Dlugosz and Albright provide a ton of experience, having combined for 372 wins and 22 playoff appearances in 49 years as head coaches.
“Dave Dlugosz is Shoremen football,” Avon Lake athletic director Tom Barone said. “I’m excited. His passion, his dedication, not only for football, but for Avon Lake football, is second to none. His passion and the fire in his eyes for Shoremen football still burns brightly. It was a pretty easy decision to talk to our superintendent about Dave coming back and being our head football coach.”
Dlugosz never really left, staying on staff as the team’s offensive coordinator last year under Larry Laird, who left after one season to become Strongsville’s coach.
When Laird left, Barone posted the job, but knew right away he wanted to bring Dlugosz back.
“To be honest, Dave was one of the first people I reached out to when Larry let me know that Strongsville was in the mix for him,” Barone said. “After my conversations with Coach Dlugosz, I was pretty confident that the best choice for Shoremen football was Coach D.”
Dlugosz is excited to have Albright join him on the sideline. They have been friends for more than 20 years and their teams scrimmaged each other every year since they started coaching. They have also been active in the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association, both serving as president and regional directors.
“We’re two old retirees having a lot of fun putting our new offense together,” Dlugosz said. “It’s been like a mini-football clinic between the things that he would do successfully at Midview and things we have done in the past at Avon Lake. We’re trying to weld those things together. It’s like a perfect marriage of him coming over and me coming back.”
The Shoremen went 8-3 last year, making the playoffs but losing to Medina Highland in the first round.
“When Larry left to go to Strongsville, I was very concerned about the stability of the program with him leaving so late,” said Dlugosz, who has a 200-44 career record and has made the playoffs 15 times. “If they’d go after a new coach, the kids would be a month behind and have to worry about the stability of the coaching staff remaining. I did not want our kids at Avon Lake High School and our program to be affected by this late change of things.
“The administration at the high school approached me very early in this whole thing and it didn’t take me long to figure this was the best thing for our players.”