Tedd Eirich returns as Allegany boys basketball coach

Tedd Eirich instructs players during a Class 1A West Region Championship game at Allegany High School on March 4, 2017. Eirich will return as head coach of the Campers this season.

CUMBERLAND, Md. — When Tedd Eirich resigned as Allegany boys basketball head coach just over three years ago, he never thought he’d coach again. That all changed this week, as Eirich confirmed he will return as head coach of the Campers boys basketball team.

Eirich was involved with Allegany basketball for over 20 years, with 18 years as head coach. He resigned shortly before the start of the 2018-19 season.

“Like any time you start taking a head coaching job, it gets a little hectic trying to get things straightened out,” Eirich said. “It’s been a wide range of emotions because I never thought I’d be doing this again. Sometimes life throws a curveball at you and you do what people need you to do. That’s kind of what’s going on here.”

Taking over for Eirich in the 2018-19 season was Jon Irons, who was an assistant under Eirich. Irons coached for two years before resigning from the position of head coach — the 2020-21 season was canceled due to the pandemic.

“All I can tell you is everybody is in the same boat as far as no one got to play last year, so no one has played a game in nearly two years,” said Eirich. “Jon did everything he could in the summer as far as workouts and getting the kids prepared, but you can only do so much with the restrictions in place.

“There’s as many numbers-wise signed up as I’ve seen since even way before I was coaching. The numbers look good, but of course that doesn’t always translate into good teams.”

Eirich took over as head coach at Allegany in 2000, succeeding his brother, Toby. Tedd Eirich has the highest winning percentage in school history (.793) and is second all-time in wins (353) and games coached (445).

Only Walter L. “Bill” Bowers won more games (566) at Allegany High up on Sedgwick Street, where Eirich was the last boys basketball coach before the new Allegany High School opened on Seton Drive.

“There was no better than that gym and atmosphere,” Eirich said of the former Alco gymnasium. “The new gym ... it’s not going to be the same. It’s very strange because I walk by the gym every day and I look in, but I don’t feel a connection to it even though I was there for Jon’s games for two years.

“I was kind of grooming Jon into the head coaching job a few years ago, and now Jon is kind of grooming me into the job. It’s just crazy how things change in a few amount of years.”

Bowers coached the Campers for 29 years from 1927 to 1955, going out with a .773 win percentage. His teams won 11 state titles, 20 City League championships and 19 Western Maryland Interscholastic League crowns.

In Eirich’s 18 seasons, Allegany won 10 Area titles, including four straight from 2014 to 2017 when the Campers won 91 games and lost just 10. The Campers were City champs 11 times in 15 years — there was no City League the other three years. They also won eight Appalachian Mountain Athletic Conference championships and three Western Maryland Interscholastic League titles. They were undefeated AMAC champs six times and had a record 42-game AMAC win streak during the AMAC’s 11-year existence.

Eirich also won eight region titles — including three in a row in 2004-2006 — and eight trips to the state tourney, reaching the state championship game three times (2004, 2006 and 2014).

“It’s been a couple of weeks,” Eirich said on how long it took him to decide to return. “The season is a month away tomorrow (today), so it got to the point where I was going, ‘Do I really want to do this again? Can I get the people around me where I was comfortable before?’ I had to see if someone could do my AD duties for me during the winter. There were a lot of little moving pieces that I had to take care of before making my decision.”

Eirich will remain the athletic director, sorting out schedules and all the traditional duties of a high school AD, but Brandon Reed — who is the school’s golf coach — will serve as athletic director during the winter season.

The outpouring of support from students and former players was evident after the news broke.

“I don’t see any of that because I’m not on social media,” said Eirich. “But I appreciate all of the nice comments. Hopefully I won’t let them down.”

Kyle Bennett is a sports reporter for the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @KyleBennettCTN.

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