A possible drop in classification won’t be the only change for the Carmichaels and Fort Cherry football programs next season.
The two schools will have new head coaches.
After nine years total, including seven as the head coach, Carmichaels’ Ryan Krull submitted his letter of resignation to be approved at a district board meeting later this month. Fort Cherry’s Jim Shiel, who spent the past eight seasons coaching the Rangers, also has resigned.
Neither team advanced to the playoffs the past two seasons after both schools moved up to Class 2A.
“It felt like the right time to do it,” Krull said. “I can’t put my finger on one certain thing. More than anything it’s one of those gut decisions. It’s time for me to move on.”
Krull replaced longtime Carmichaels coach John Menhart prior to the 2013 season. In the last seven seasons, the Mikes have gone 37-31, made the Class A playoffs four times and have one playoff win.
The last two seasons Carmichaels has endured the Class 2A Century Conference, which features other local teams like Washington, McGuffey, Charleroi and Beth-Center. The Mikes went 2-7 in 2018 and 4-5 this season, barely missing out on the conference’s fourth playoff spot.
“We did a lot of good things,” Krull said of his tenure. “I think this year, for the most part, teams that played us knew we weren’t a punching bag. Our kids held their own. We have numbers better than anyone else in the county.”
Krull said he didn’t think about his eventual decision to resign much throughout the season, wanting to eliminate as many distractions as possible as Carmichaels tried to make a playoff push. He spent the weekend after the season ended contemplating the decision.
“I don’t think my coaching days are done,” Krull said. “Maybe they are. I get asked what am I going to do? I don’t know. I loved the relationships I’ve formed over the years. Those guys have always and will always be my guys.”
The move to Class 2A hasn’t been a smooth transition for Fort Cherry, which has struggled with its roster numbers.
The Rangers, who played in the Three Rivers Conference each of the last two seasons, went 2-8 in 2018 and were winless this year. They scored only 28 points in 10 games this season.
Shiel was hired in 2012 and led Fort Cherry to at least seven wins in three seasons. The Rangers made the Class A playoffs in 2013, 2016 and 2017, losing to Clairton in the quarterfinals in their first two appearances.
Shiel’s record at Fort Cherry was 34-43.
Like Krull replacing Menhart, Shiel was in a similar situation. He broke the succession of the Rangers having a coach with the last name Garry – legendary coach Jim Garry coached for 43 years and his son, Tim Garry, coached nine seasons before Shiel was hired.
After the PIAA released its classification parameters for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years last week, both Carmichaels and Fort Cherry are both in line to move down to Class A next season. The official enrollment numbers for individual schools won’t be posted by the PIAA until December and could change before that time.