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Ellenberger Out at South Lakes

South Lakes football coach John Ellenberger has been let go after six seasons.

Ellenberger’s teams went 17-45, including a tenure-best 5-6 last fall, with three of the losses by five points or fewer, and wins over playoff teams McLean and Madison.
The Seahawks lost their last five games, including two against Virginia AAA Division 5 runner-up Stone Bridge.

“I think it’s a program that can do a lot better than what I did with it,” said Ellenberger, who had been an assistant at South Lakes under three coaches before assuming the top job in 2004. “Overall, you’ve got to win more ballgames than what I won. I think in the long run it might be good for the school to get a breath of fresh air.”

“John is a wonderful man and has done a great job of getting our student-athletes into college,” South Lakes Athletic Director Linda Jones said. “We’re just trying to build momentum for our football program.”

With Ellenberger as an assistant, South Lakes reached the Division 5 Northern Region final in 1999 and 2002, winning it in ’02.

The South Lakes vacancy is the fourth open job in the Northern Region, with Annandale, Centreville and Falls Church. Edison (Anthony Parker), Jefferson (Ken Kincaid) and Mount Vernon (Barry Wells) already have hired new coaches since the end of last season.

Ellenberger, who will continue to work at the school as an assistant athletic director and special ed teacher, said the Seahawks’ returning skill position players might be the best in his 15 years coaching at the school, with Ja’Juan Jones, Darius Smith and Sean Price. All are juniors.

“I’m definitely not the greatest X’s and O’s guy, but I think I helped out a lot of kids over the years,” Ellenberger said. “I love the community, love the school and love the kids. I can’t say enough about the place.”

By Preston Williams  |  January 26, 2010; 5:07 PM ET
Categories:  AAA Liberty District , Football , Northern Region , South Lakes  
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