By Brandon HENSLEY
Former Falcons football coach Alan Eberhart resigned Monday from the same position at Glendale High School, ending a frustrating three-year tenure in which expectations were never met.
Under Eberhart, the Nitros went just 4-26, with three of those wins coming against rival Hoover High. This season, the Nitros were 2-8, and 1-6 in the Pacific League. They ended their season last week with a 55-49 win over Hoover.
Eberhart, who became the Nitros’ coach in 2009, said he was frustrated with the lack of success on the field and the growing problem of not having enough students that wanted to play.
“The bottom line is we just couldn’t get kids to play football,” Eberhart said. “It’s not a football school, and that’s what I was brought here to do, to make it a football school.”
Current CVHS head coach Paul Schilling, whom Eberhart hired as an assistant in the 1990s, said he wasn’t surprised about the decision.
“He had really high expectations, so he thought it would be the same as here, and it wasn’t,” Schilling said.
Eberhart graduated from Glendale, but said the losses didn’t feel worse because it was his alma mater – he thinks he would feel badly regardless.
“I feel like I let a lot of people down. I’m disappointed I didn’t do a better job, but I would have felt that [way] no matter where I was,” he said. “I was hired to rebuild this football program and get it on the right track and I wasn’t able to do that and I didn’t see that I was going to be able to do that in the future.”
He will continue teaching at Glendale and said he does not have any immediate plans to leave the school and find another coaching job.
“I don’t have any plans. I’m old enough now to where I don’t need to coach anymore,” he said.
Eberhart had previously enjoyed a more successful run at CV High, where he was a coach for 20 seasons including 14 as head coach. With Eberhart as their leader, the Falcons went 89-58-1, and won five league titles.
In October 2006, Eberhart resigned as CV’s coach following an alleged altercation with CV parents after a loss against Burroughs. He came back as an assistant that December.
In May 2008, though, he was put on administrative leave after an incident occurred when allegedly several varsity players roughed up two JV football players. Eberhart was still a history teacher at CV at the end of the 2008-09 school year when he said the opportunity to coach at Glendale came up, and the chance to work for Principal Deb Rinder, with whom he has had a longtime friendship.
“It was a chance to come down and coach for her,” Eberhart said. “Yeah, I wanted to be a head coach again, and I wasn’t done with coaching football, but the chance to come down to the school I went to and coach for Dr. Rinder was intriguing.”
On the field, Eberhart has always been viewed as a no nonsense coach.
“He’s an old school guy, tough. Tough-minded, kind of a ‘my way or the highway’ guy,” said Schilling.
“All his players [at CV] enjoyed playing for him. He had a really good following because of his dedication and hard work,” said Dave Mendoza, current Falcons boys’ athletic director.
Eberhart said he wondered if maybe his style was also a contributor to Glendale’s woes.
“I’m old fashioned. If you don’t come to practice, you don’t play,” he said. “I’ve never changed. Maybe that hurt me, maybe I should have been flexible but I don’t think that’s the way to do it.”