UPDATE: Wheaton High School Acquires New Football Coach

Ernie Williams takes Joe Ortega's place as football coach at Wheaton High School.


Wheaton High School has a new head football coach.

The Gazette reported that veteran coach Ernie Williams was hired Jan. 26. Williams has previously coached at Paint Branch and Winston Churchill.

Athletic Director Maura Ryan told the Gazette that Williams is a "a great motivator and teacher.”

Do you think Ernie Williams is a good fit for Wheaton? Tell us in the comments section below.

For more, read the story on the Gazette website.

Original Story, Dec. 20, 2011:

Joe Ortega is leaving the football program.

After a three-year stint, Ortega has decided to call it quits, citing economic issues as the reason for his departure.

“I just can’t put in the time that’s required,” said Ortega, a 48-year-old Wheaton native who once attended Good Counsel and Einstein. “I just felt it was better for the kids and the program if I stepped down.”

Ortega, who had coaching stints at Richard Montgomery, Kennedy and Einstein before he took over the Wheaton varsity football program two years ago, compiled a 9-21 record during his tenure.

Ortega led the Knights to a 4-6 mark in both 2009 and 2010 but the team struggled this season and finished the 2011 campaign at 1-9; the team’s lone victory came in a 20-18 win over Blair in September.

“The kids are great there,” said Ortega. “I loved being there and I loved the interaction.”

The Wheaton football program was once a playoff contender in the 1990s under then-head coach Lee Branthover, who compiled a 91-53 record in 14 seasons and led the Knights to the Maryland 2A state championship in 1996 when the team finished with an 11-2 record.

Branthover was replaced by Tommy Neal who guided the program to an 8-22 record in three seasons before Ortega took over the helm in 2009.

Potential candidates to succeed Ortega include his former assistant at Wheaton, Eric Zolkiewicz, who spent six seasons as the Knights head baseball coach before accepting the same position at Blair earlier this year.

“He’s a good guy and he’s really capable,” said Ortega.

Malcolm Wilson December 21, 2011 at 01:57 PM
to use a Jon Gruden line, Joe's a "football guy" and hopefully will stay involved in the football community.


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