Dave Dlugosz is hoping the second time is the charm.
The longtime Avon Lake football coach has decided to retire for the second time in four years, the school confirmed Tuesday.
“I think he felt it was time to step away from the program,” Avon Lake athletic director Nori Okuma said. “He felt comfortable to turn the program over and give the keys to the next coach.”
Dlugosz retired in 2013, then became an assistant coach for Larry Laird, who led the Shoremen for one season before becoming Strongsville’s football coach.
“The coach who I took over for left after one year and I took over the program,” Dlugosz said.
Dlugosz’s first stint as head coach was from 1992-2012, and he led the Shoremen to 18 Southwestern Conference titles and 16 playoff appearances, including two trips to the state final in 2003 and ’04.
His Shoremen won the Division II state championship in 2003 by defeating Trenton Edgewood 10-7.
“I remember that game and it was very cold,” he said.
The second stint didn’t start as well for Dlugosz. The Shoremen went from a playoff team in 2013 to finishing under .500 for the first times in his career — 2-8 in ’14 and 4-6 in ’15.
His final season was one to remember — the Shoremen returned to the playoffs after a 7-3 regular season, defeated archrival Avon in the first round before losing 14-6 in the regional semifinals to Whitehouse Anthony Wayne.
Dlugosz finished his career at 214-61.
“Our program is at a strong spot,” he said. “We have over 100 kids in our third- and fourth-grade levels, strong numbers in our middle school level and our freshmen won a conference title.”
Dlugosz will keep an eye on the Avon Lake program. Many of his assistants are expected to remain with the program. He also wants to help his players follow their dreams and go to college.
“I told the kids that I’ll be involved with their recruiting,” he said. “With many of my friends and my son on the staff, I’ll still keep in touch with the program.”
“We’re happy to have him in the community for the last 42 years,” Okuma said. “He’s done a lot for our community and program.”
With Dlugosz no longer at the helm, it will be up to Okuma and the rest of the Avon Lake staff to find a successor for the Hall of Fame coach.
“We’re sorry to see him go,” Okuma said. “It’s our turn to step up and find the next head coach for Avon Lake.”
“I’ll always be involved with the program,” Dlugosz said. “I’m excited to see where the program will be going in the future.”
Contact Tim Grattan at 329-7135 or follow him @Tim_Grattan77 on Twitter.
Dave Dlugosz Career
Year W-L Highlights
1992 7-3 SWC Champion
1993 8-2 SWC
1994 11-1 SWC/State Playoffs
1995 10-2 Playoffs
1997 9-1 SWC
1998 9-2 SWC/Playoffs
1999 8-3 SWC/Playoffs
2000 10-2 SWC/Playoffs
2001 11-2 SWC/Playoffs
2002 11-2 SWC/Playoffs
2003 15-0 SWC/State Champions
2004 14-1 SWC/State Runner-up
2005 12-1 SWC/Playoffs
2007 11-1 SWC/Playoffs
2008 8-3 SWC/Playoffs
2009 8-4 SWC/Playoffs
2010 8-3 SWC/Playoffs
2011 8-2 SWC
2012 8-3 SWC/Playoffs
2016 8-4 Playoffs
- Avon Lake hires Kostelnik as new football coach
- All-District football: Midview's Crum named player of the year; Avon Lake's Dlugosz, Lorain's McFarland coaches of the year
- Crum leads large area crowd onto all-district football lists
- High school football playoffs: Turnovers costly as Avon Lake falls to Anthony Wayne
- High school football: Five of eight area playoff teams from Southwestern Conference
- Dave Dlugosz excited to be back as Avon Lake football coach
- Prep football: Dave Dlugosz to take Avon Lake reins again; ex-Midview coach Bill Albright to be offensive coordinator
- H.S. Football: Avon Lake needs coach after Larry Laird leaves for Strongsville
- H.S. Football: Avon Lake coach Larry Laird reportedly leaving for Strongsville after one season
- H.S. Football: Avon Lake community thanks retired coach Dave Dlugosz with banquet
- High school football: Dave Dlugosz retires as Avon Lake coach after 21 seasons, 200 wins