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Kevin Stetser named new Egg Harbor Township football coach

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stetser1 Bill LeConey/New Egg Harbor Township football coach Kevin Stetser (right) is congratulated by school board member Jack Haines after Tuesday's vote. EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – Kevin Stetser has a primary focus in his mission to rejuvenate the Egg Harbor Township High School football program: Keep the boys at home.

Stetser, 38, was unanimously approved by the EHT Board of Education Tuesday night as the school’s new varsity head football coach, replacing Tony DeRosa, whose contract was not renewed after 16 years at the helm.

Stetser, a former EHT football star and a member of the coaching staff for the past 14 years, said he is determined to recapture the formula that brought a state championship to the school during his playing days.

“We need to get our Egg Harbor Township kids to stay and play for the high school,” Stetser said. “That’s a major goal of mine. I played here. We won a state championship here (in 1992). I know what it’s like to win here. This town gets behind you like no other place, and that’s an area that we need to fix.”

Stetser was chosen from among nearly two dozen applicants to replace DeRosa, who had a 90-74 record in 16 seasons and coached the Eagles to a pair of South Jersey finals. But the team has struggled in recent seasons, going 4-6 in both 2011 and 2012 before dropping to 2-8 this past season.

And too often, Stetser says, the township has lost talented young football players to outside schools such as Holy Spirit and St. Augustine Prep – players that could have stayed home and contributed to a consistently strong program if given the opportunity.

Egg Harbor Township is the largest school in Atlantic County, with enrollment of 1,876 students for the 2012-2013 school year, and is classified by the NJSIAA for football as South Jersey Group V.

“Look what we have to offer: It’s like a small college,” Stetser said. “Our facilities are top-notch. We have a great new field house, a tremendous weight room. And we need to show the kids that. We need to let the kids know that this is here for them.”

Stetser, a special education teacher at EHT, helped organize the township’s PAL football program, and also worked with the EHT Youth Organization’s football teams. He said his football reputation (he is a member of the school's athletic Hall of Fame) and his connections with the township's feeder programs should pay dividends with the varsity team.

He also wants to foster a sense of pride and generate more support in the community for the football program.

“I know it’s there,” he said. “I know we have the talent and the community support. We have the facility, we have the education. When the town gets behind you, it’s an awesome feeling. That’s what we have to get them to buy into and be a part of. We have a lot of EHT people involved in our football programs now. We didn’t always have that connection. We have that now.”

Stetser said he is “chomping at the bit” to get started. He said the team was very young last season (28 sophomores) but has a strong nucleus and should be ready to compete right away.

“We have talent,” he said. “We’re a large school with a lot of very good athletes. We are expecting to jump right in and compete. I’m anxious to move forward and get to work.”

stetser2 Bill LeConey/From left are Egg Harbor Township High School football players sophomore Kenny Robinson, junior Bronte Preston, senior Eric Wollermann, coach Kevin Stetser, senior John Ahl, sophomore Deitrich Trumbauer, freshman Dan Wollerman and juniors Tyler White and Antonio Branca.


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