Mark Saunders
Mark Saunders
Coach of the Year

MARK SAUNDERS

Chambersburg

Why he was chosen: Saunders, in his third season, led the Trojans to a 6-5 record, which was first winning season at Chambersburg since 1998 The Trojans also reached the District 3 Class AAAA playoffs as the No. 9 seed before falling 33-28 to Central York.

Background: Saunders has a real passion for football that started when he played at Parkland High School in Winston-Salem, N.C. He played in college at Div. II Johnson C. Smith in Charlotte He has coached at 4 colleges - Winston-Salem State, Virginia, Illinois State and North Carolina AT&T He had coaching internships with 3 NFL teams He also coached the Rochester (N.Y.) Brigade of the Arena2 Football League for 3 years, and coached at Grimsley, N.C. before moving north.

Call it even: Saunders' wife Kim was named the P.O. Volleyball Coach of the Year for her success at Waynesboro this fall "I'm tired of being second to her," Saunders joked. "I was voted into my county Hall of Fame, but she was in hers three years before that. And she was the Mid Penn (Colonial) coach of the year, too."

Busy fall: With both parents coaching this fall, life was hectic, to say the least. "We didn't see a lot of each other, that's for sure," Saunders said. "There were a lot of nights we wouldn't go to sleep until 1 or 2 in the morning because we were talking about ways to motivate kids. We kind of feed off of each other. She's always been there for me when I coached and she was even my agent when I was looking at contracts.


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So I went to her games this fall, too. The way the fall went, I'm just glad (their son) Ethan got fed. We're fortunate to have some friends and neighbors who could look after him."

On his position: "I think this is an important job and I treat it that way. I feel like you can attack this job like it's a college job. Everything I could do at the college level, I can do here, with the facilities, the people, I know I can get a lot of satisfaction right here in Chambersburg and it keeps me grounded."

In his spare time: What little there is, Saunders might be found watching football, of course. "I'm not so much a pro fan, I'm more a college guy. I don't have NFL Ticket, I have Game Plan. Last weekend was unbelievable - I got to watch five games, and a couple more on tape. And I don't watch like a normal fan. I look at the schemes they use and hope I see something I like."

More football: "Last Saturday I went to the KYFL (youth football) finals and saw some of the players I might be coaching one day. It was exciting because I saw some good kids. It made me fortunate to know there are four of those teams who have kids who might one day play for us. I just have to keep recruiting them to make sure they stay on the right road. I want to get to them even before junior high and let them know that I care."

On keeping the program building: "One factor we need to keep working on is to find more kids who are committed. Some will be, but not enough yet. You're going to have some who are totally committed to the program and you don't have to worry about them. What we have to do is get the most we can out of the ones who are not totally committed. Coaching is catering your philosophy to who you have available. This program is based on learning life lessons and I want to take this journey with these kids. Like the (last-second) loss to State College - I told the kids this was like life and you have to bounce back."

Season never ends: "The season is over, but my job is never over. I've got a lot to think about for next year and lots of things we want to get accomplished. And the National Signing Day is in February and we've got some kids we need to get information out about to schools. We've had nine kids in three years go to school to play and we have to keep doing more of that. It's just another way to help the program grow."