DAMASCUS, Md. — After 12 years as head coach of varsity football for Damascus High School, Eric Wallich is stepping down. The long-time program leader submitted his resignation Friday, citing family reasons in a lengthy personal social media post.
The surprise announcement came 15 months after a sexual assault scandal rocked the football program that Wallich oversaw. In October 2018, three junior varsity football players were sexually assaulted by at least five other teammates in the team locker room, leading to multiple players being charged with first-degree rape and national headlines.
But Wallich isn't the only one who has stepped down from the program.
A number of faculty members at Damascus High have resigned since the scandal, including Principal Casey Crouse and Assistant Principal Maniya Jules. Those directly involved with the football program, like athletic director Joe Doody and the JV football head coach Vinny Colbert, also stepped down from their positions.
Wallich, who lead the Damascus Hornets to four state championships, said that stepping down would allow him more time for his family, including time with his twin girls who will start high school next year.
"My family has supported me all this time and it’s time for me to do the same," Wallich said. "I need to be more of a dad and less of a coach and this is the main reason for my decision."
Despite stepping down from the football program, Wallich said he will continue to be employed at the school as a physical education instructor. It is not yet clear who will replace Wallich.
Read all of Wallich's resignation letter here:
It is with great sadness and much reservation that I have decided to resign as the Head Football Coach of Damascus High School. The past twelve years at Damascus have been some of the most rewarding and best times of my personal and professional life but I have come to a crossroad and feel I need to make a change for myself and my family.
I have been thinking about this decision for a long time and this has been one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. There are so many reasons I want to remain and stay as Head Coach at DHS. My main reasons are that I love the players, coaching staff and program so much. Damascus football runs so deep in my blood and has been part of me for 30+ years as a player and a coach. Damascus has been the best place I could ever imagine to grow up, go to high school, play football, and then come back to teach and coach. The memories and friendships I have made will be with me forever.
All my life I’ve wanted to have the same positive impact on kids as my coaches had on me growing up. I have tried to use football as a vehicle to teach the players some life lessons that I hope will make them better men. I have tried to get across that through discipline, hard work, and teamwork they can accomplish anything they want in life. I love these boys like they were my own sons and I have always tried to treat them that way. There are two types of success in coaching- success on the field which is measured by wins and losses and success in making them better people off the field. I am proud of the success we have had in my tenure as the coach at Damascus but I am even more proud of the young men I have seen grow as people over the years.
Although I identify a huge part of myself as a coach, I identify as a husband and a father first. I will always put my family as the biggest priority in my life. Our family has invested everything we could into this and all of us have a very heavy heart about this decision. My twins are currently in 8th grade and will be entering high school next year. They have literally grown up going to football games every weekend of their lives in the fall for 13 years and love it as much as I do. My son plays football and wrestles and my daughter plays lacrosse and field hockey. I want to support them every way I can and watch them compete doing what they love. Being the Head Coach and putting in the time and energy it takes to run a top program would require too much of me and would make this impossible. I have already missed many of their games, and would miss even more of their events at the high school level. My family has supported me all this time and it’s time for me to do the same. I need to be more of a dad and less of a coach and this is the main reason for my decision.
This journey wouldn’t have been so special if weren’t for the incredible players I have coached over the years and the wonderful parental support. I’d be remiss if I didn’t especially thank the incredible assistant coaches that have helped so much over the years. This coaching staff is something that means the world to me and I believe it to be the best in the state. I have made many great friends and built many wonderful relationships over the years with coaches, parents and players that I hope will continue to prosper and grow in the future. The future of Damascus football looks bright and the underclassmen and youth league are filled with talent. I will do everything I can to ensure DHS selects the best coach possible and hopefully one that will continue the traditions that have been in place for 30+ years. If you or your son ever needs anything, please don’t hesitate to call me. I will remain a teacher at Damascus HS and will continue help players with recruiting, weight training or anything else I can do to help in anyway. Remember, "Damascus football isn’t something you do, it’s something you become!"