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Fairfax hires football coach

Before joining his baseball players Tuesday afternoon for their bus ride to a game at Langley, Fairfax Coach Kevin Simonds had some other Rebels that he needed to meet with — the school’s football players.

Simonds, the Fairfax baseball coach for the past three years, was introduced Tuesday as the Rebels’ new football coach. He replaces Chris Haddock, who previously had stepped down to take the head football job at Centreville.

Simonds, a 1994 West Springfield graduate, has been an assistant football coach at Fairfax since 2004. He led the junior varsity team to a 7-1 record last fall.

Simonds said he was “taken aback” Tuesday afternoon when the returning Rebels greeted him with a standing ovation in the school weight room when he was introduced as the new football coach.

The weight room “is the place where we say it all starts, so it seemed fitting to meet [there],” said Simonds, who got his start in coaching at Lee as an assistant to Gerry
Pannoni
, the coach that Haddock replaced at Centreville.

Fairfax’s move this past season back to the Liberty District, from the more demanding Concorde, helped spur the Rebels’ already improving fortunes. The Rebels went 6-5 for their first winning season since 1999 and first playoff berth since that season. Fairfax had gone 1-9, 2-8 and 4-6 the previous three years.

“I’ve been here through the entire Concorde District era and when we struggled to get guys out and be excited about football,” Simonds said. “I know where we’ve been and I know where we’re going. ... These guys have gotten the chance to see what it’s like to be in the Liberty District hunt and to be in the Division 6 playoffs.”

The five losses last season were to teams that finished a combined 53-14. The Rebels fell 19-14 to eventual Virginia AAA Division 6 runner-up Lake Braddock in the first round of the region playoffs.

Simonds said both lines should be a strength next season, and free safety Shaun Hasenpflug was a second-team all-region choice as a junior. Quarterback Spencer Macleod, a backup last season, has shown promise, and three capable running backs will return, including second-team all-Liberty pick Marcus Bailey.

Simonds said he is uncertain if he will continue as the school’s baseball coach after this season.

With the hiring of Simonds, eight of the 25 Fairfax County high schools have changed football coaches since last season. The others are Annandale (Mike Scott for Dick Adams), Centreville (Haddock for Pannoni), Edison (Anthony Parker for Vaughn Lewis), Falls Church (Said Aziz for Parker), Jefferson (Ken Kincaid for Tim Puvogel), Mount Vernon (Barry Wells for Tom Glynn) and South Lakes (Andy Hill for John Ellenberger).

By Preston Williams  |  April 6, 2010; 5:55 PM ET
 
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