Less than three months after being reassigned at Covington High School, where he had served as football coach for the past five years, Malter Scobel was named interim coach at Hammond, a District 6-5A foe of the Lions.
Scobel lost his position as coach in May when incoming Principal Roslyn Hanson decided to make a change and go with longtime assistant and school alum Greg Salter. He originally had decided to stay on at Covington and work a year before looking for another job, but jumped at the chance when he learned the Tors were interested in him.
Scobel first received a call two weeks ago from then-Hammond coach Kevin Moore, who wanted Scobel to become the Tors defensive coordinator. But when Moore was promoted to assistant principal Wednesday, the school asked Scobel to become interim coach. He informed Covington this week he was leaving and filed the necessary paperwork with Hanson on Friday.
“I’m glad to be back in; it’s what I do,” Scobel said Saturday. “This is all I have done for 19 years going on 20. I am excited about it. I wish it would have happened earlier, but I’m glad to be back in, without a doubt.”
And it will be quite a challenge.
Scobel walks into a program that is 4-15 over the past two seasons. He said the team will return about 10 starters and 35 players overall who were on last season’s roster. At the same time, he hopes to have about 15 to 20 new players.
They don’t have much time to get acclimated to a new coach. Already going through camp, the Tors will have a jamboree game against St. Thomas Aquinas on Aug. 30 and open the regular season in less than a month Sept. 6 against South Pike (Miss.).
The Lions went 26-26 and 17-16 in district play in five seasons under Scobel, were 6-4 last year and made the playoffs despite being in a rebuilding year after losing 14 starters from the 2011 season. This year, Covington could have one of the best defensive units in the state, including highly sought-after defensive lineman Garrald McDowell.
The Tors will face the Lions on Nov. 1 in Hammond, and Scobel said it will be an emotional Friday night.
“That’s going to be a tough one,” he said. “Just being around those kids again is going to bring back a lot of emotions. I’ve stayed in touch with them, and I emailed the whole team last Sunday, mainly the seniors and juniors to let them know I was going. I wanted to do it face to face, but it didn’t work out.
“They all know what the deal is, and they have wished me congratulations and good luck. And that’s all I have told them, and I hope everything turns out well for them.”