Eastern York High School found its new head football coach across the Susquehanna River.
After serving as head coach at Columbia High School for the past five seasons, Daryl “Bud” Kyle was approved last Thursday as the new leader of the Eastern York program. According to school board documents, Kyle will earn an annual stipend of $6,857 in Eastern York.
Separated by about five miles on either side of the river, Eastern York and Columbia have always been fierce rivals outside of conference, usually playing against each other on the opening night of the football season. Eastern York athletic director Don Knaub said he believes Kyle will be the first person to serve as head coach at both schools — in any sport.
Kyle, who graduated from York High in 2005, said the rivalry wasn’t a big factor in his decision to take the job in the East, though he did say it will be interesting to meet his former Week 1 team this coming fall. .
“I didn’t grow up in Columbia, so I always prepared for that (Eastern) competition like any other competition,” he said. “It was a hard decision to leave, and it’s bittersweet. This is an opportunity to coach at a bigger school and it’s the best for my family.”
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Eastern York, a Class 4A football program, has struggled for the past decade. Former head coach Josh Campbell was not brought back after the Knights went 9-27 under him in four seasons, but he was also the program’s fifth head coach since 2010. The Knights had only one winning season in that span (7-4 in 2014). ) racks.
Eastern now turns to a head coach who helped turn his last program around.
Columbia, a Class 2A program, had consecutive seasons with one win when Kyle was hired as head coach in 2017. The Crimson Tide went winless in its first year, but improved to 3-7, 4-6 and 4-4 (COVID abbreviated 2020) over the next three seasons.
Last fall, Columbia went 8-2 to win its first Lancaster-Lebanon League section title since 2002. The Crimson Tide lost to Upper Dauphin in the District 3 Class 2A, 58-48 semifinals.
“He has a proven track record,” says Knaub. “His personality will be a great fit for Eastern, and he will do a great job with kids and do his best to get the most out of them. We’ve heard nothing but good things about him and kids love playing for him .”
While Eastern hasn’t had many wins in recent years, it has had some good fouls with talented quarterbacks and receivers. Rising senior quarterback Austin Billet (nearly 1,800 passing yards, 17 touchdowns) was named first-team YAIAA Division II last fall.
Kyle passed with a similar offense at Columbia. The Crimson Tide averaged 45 points and 447 yards per game last season as quarterback Robert Footman became the first player in LL history to throw more than 3,000 yards, rush 500 yards and score a total of 50 touchdowns in one season. Footman just got an offer to play college football for Division II Millersville.
Kyle said Eastern will still be running a staggered attack next season, but people shouldn’t be surprised if the Knights use the run more.
After going 2-8 last season, Eastern will bring back a handful of starters on the offense, defense and running back. But it does have Bryce Currier, all-state recipient, graduate, who will play college football at Division III Ithaca College.
“We will look at the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents and we will be in balance,” Kyle said. “We have a good group coming up that will give us depth. Austin is a very talented lad and we’ve talked a little bit already. He’s excited and I think he can have a great senior season.”
“We are going to do the right things at school and make sure everyone knows what is expected of each other.”
A Dallastown resident who works as a behaviorist, Kyle has been a part of a number of strong football programs during his lifetime.
He played under Matt Ortega at York High and is still in touch with the former Bearcats coach, who now coaches District 1 powerhouse Coatesville. As a linebacker, Kyle went to Division I FCS St. Francis before transferring to Millersville.
After spending two years as a freshman coach at York High, he became an assistant varsity at Steel-High. The Rollers have long been one of the best small school programs in the state.
He said he brought the lessons he learned from those programs to Columbia — a team he says was often chosen as the homecoming of his opponents when he arrived.
Kyle said he plans to meet with the Eastern York players this week to review the off-season training schedule.
“You have to make sure that people are held accountable and that they understand it’s a team sport,” Kyle said. “At York High we were a brotherhood and we didn’t let each other make mistakes. You have to understand that you have to love each other, trust and respect each other. Once you get that buy-in, you get results. That’s what they do have at Steel-High. Those kids are always tight and together.”
Matt Allibone is a sports reporter for GameTimePA. He can be reached at 717-881-8221, email@example.com or on Twitter at @bad2thealibone.