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The Palmyra boys soccer team will have a new head coach next fall.
And it’s a familiar face.
The Palmyra School District approved Jerry Hoffsmith as the team’s next coach at Thursday night’s school board meeting.
Hoffsmith replaces A.J. Hull, who is leaving Palmyra for an administrative level position with another school. Hull leaves the Cougars after three seasons as head coach.
Weidler says Hull resigned about two months ago.
“He has been looking for an administrative level position for quite sometime,” Weidler said. “We’ll certainly miss his vigor and love for the game, and we wish him well.”
There were three candidates up for the position, but Hoffsmith was chosen as a unanimous decision, according to Palmyra Athletic Director Brian Weidler.
“I can already feel the energy and excitement behind our choice,” Weidler said. “We really have a group of young players who are hungry to win. What Jerry does better than anybody is he brings accountability and character to a problem where we have tremendous upside to contend for a title and beyond.”
Hoffsmith takes over after serving as a volunteer coach the past two seasons under Hull – but this will be his second head coaching tenure, however.
Hoffsmith was the Cougars’ coach for one season in 2007, leading Palmyra to a state title.
“It was obviously the most memorable season in our program history,” Weidler said. “He took a team that was 9-11 all the way to the pinnacle of the sport. It was almost unheard of. Jerry encompasses what high school athletics should offer young people. It’s not just the X’s and O’s. It’s the whole package.”
But in the ensuing offseason, Hoffsmith left the program to accept another coaching position.
“I don’t’ think Jerry realized what all went into being a head coach,” Weidler said. “At that time he was still his running business, ‘Colonial Craft Kitchens.’ Now that his son’s more involved in the business, he has more time on his hands.”
With that past history in mind, Weidler says he and Hoffsmith made it understood this will be a long-term commitment.
“Jerry has given me that assurance,” Weidler said. “We can’t have another 2007. We’re very comfortable with his intentions, and whom he’s going to surround himself with, including a few former players from that 2007 team.”
Those former players include Brett Jankouskas, who’s a current member of the Harrisburg City Islanders, and Tom Brandt, who played for the University of Pennsylvania.
Hoffsmith will be working to have history repeat itself, looking to improve a Cougars team that suffered an early district playoff exit last season, posting a 6-12-1 overall and 4-7-1 in the Mid-Penn Keystone.
Weidler says the transition should be a smooth one, as all players were heavily involved in the interview process, having met with each of the three candidates.
“I adopted the players having a say,” Weidler said. “I love they have a voice. They’re the ones in the trenches with this person. Jerry was their selection as well.”
Hoffsmith is currently out of the area and cannot be reached for comment at this time, but is due back next week. Stay tuned for a follow-up story.