After stepping down at the end of the 2007-08 season, a year during which he led the Lee girls’ basketball team to its first-ever Northern Region title, Rudy Coffield wanted to focus on spending time with his grandson and tending to family matters.
But something unexpected happened along the way: Coffield’s daughter and her family learned that they would be moving to Germany, part of a necessary transfer because of his daughter’s job with the federal government.
With the newfound free time, Coffield went back to work. On Monday night, Hayfield Secondary School and its director of student activities, Steve Kewer, hired Coffield to coach its girls’ basketball team, a position that became vacant when fourth-year coach Richard Carlock resigned.
“It wasn’t out of my system,” Coffield said. “I knew I wanted to get back into it, but I just didn’t think that it would be this quick. But it’s a good thing. I love doing it. I love the kids. There are some good people in this region, and I’m really happy and excited to be back.”
The reason for Coffield’s return is loaded with irony. While he was stationed in Germany as a member of the U.S. Army in the 1980s, Coffield got his start in coaching at Munich High School. He moved back to Virginia in 1993, took a job at Jefferson and finally landed at Lee prior to the 2003-04 season.
In 2007-08, Lee went 25-4, topped W.T. Woodson in the Northern Region title game at George Mason’s Patriot Center and lost to Princess Anne in the Virginia AAA state quarterfinals. In his now-ongoing 25-year coaching career, Coffield has a record of 250-103.
<b>HAYFIELD</b> went 6-17 this past winter and lost in the Patriot District quarterfinals to West Springfield. Though hired less than a month after the team’s final game, Coffield feels a sense of urgency to get his players involved in some type of off-season work.
“We have to hit the ground running,” Coffield said. “We have a lot of work to do. I don’t know what they’ve done in the off-season in the past, but we do a lot between our weight training and conditioning and we try to get the kids playing, whether it’s AAU or summer leagues.”
Kewer took 18 applications for the job, and, with the help of a search committee, whittled those down to seven primary applicants. From that point, Kewer and the committee interviewed three prospective coaches and offered the job to Coffield late Monday afternoon while the coach was on his way home from his day job as a school resource officer at Key Middle School in Springfield.
“He’s a police officer in the community, he knows the community, he knows the kids,” Kewer said. “He has a plan to get them to where we want to be.”