When Elizabethtown Area High School head football coach Bill McDonald abruptly resigned back in December, Andy Breault was just as surprised as everyone else. The team had just posted back-to-back 6-4 seasons, the best they’ve had in some time, so seeing the coach depart was the last thing on most people’s minds.
“I was shocked because I had no idea it was coming,” Breault said. “Bill is a great guy and a great coach, and I respect his decision. I know it was a tough one for him to make because he had developed a good relationship with the players.”
With a vacancy at head coach, Breault decided to throw his name in as a potential replacement. He had spent the previous 14 years as a member of the coaching staff in a variety of different roles, including the offensive, defensive and special teams coordinator positions. The school board approved him as the new head coach at their meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 27. McDonald supported the decision, calling Breault shortly afterward to congratulate him and wish him luck.
“Having both of my sons finished with college, the timing was right,” Breault said. “The reception from the players and fans has been positive. I was able to maintain some of the staff as well as some additional coaches that have strong ties to our community.”
Breault himself is inarguably linked to Elizabethtown. He graduated as a member of the football team in 1988, eventually being named to the athletic Hall of Fame. He then played four years at Kutztown University as their quarterback, breaking several records and making their Hall of Fame as well.
As a QB at Elizabethtown, he became the first player in Lancaster-Lebanon League history to throw for more than 2,000 yards in a single season and still holds the school record for total yards. Breault cites his experiences with the team as one of the major reasons for his success.
“I was coached by the best at Elizabethtown, and I’ve coached with some of the best at Elizabethtown,” Breault said. “I’d say I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of that. Every position I’ve had on the coaching staff has enabled me to learn, grow and prepare for the head coaching job.”
There will be challenges ahead for the team. Before Mc-Donald came on board, they had won just seven games in four seasons. Avoiding a tumultuous transitional period will be key for them heading into the upcoming campaign. Breault is aware of this and is already prepared.
“We have a lot to accomplish this offseason,” Breault said. “Installing a new offense and defense will be the top priority. The players and coaches will continue to strive toward our goals and work hard. I know what our strengths are as a team and what we can accomplish moving forward. There are always improvements that can be made. We will take it one day at a time, and continue use the offseason as a time to build our strength and conditioning.”