By Doug Chapin
Not much is expected to change with the Howland High football program despite the fact longtime coach Dick Angle has stepped down.
And that’s a good thing considering the Tigers have been to the playoffs the last six seasons with a record of 55-12 in that span.
The continuity will be assured with the Board of Education’s decision Monday to hire longtime assistant Dominic Menendez to the top position.
“Our staff is in place, which makes the transition very smooth,” Menendez said. “We have guys who have been with the program, everything will stay in place and we will try to keep it rolling. That is beneficial for the continuity of the staff and players.”
Menendez was an assistant under Angle from year one of the latter’s 15 seasons at Howland.
“My relationship with Coach Angle has been a long one. I grew up about a half-mile down the street from him and he was my fifth- and sixth-grade basketball coach,” Menendez said. “I played for him at Ursuline and have coached with him for 15 years. He’s been a great mentor and a great friend. I have learned a lot from him.”
Angle had nothing but praise for Menendez and recommended him as Howland’s next coach.
“He is an endless worker and you have to be in this profession, no matter what level,” Angle said. “You can’t just punch a clock and that’s a great quality about him.”
Menendez gained plenty of varied experience under Angle serving as coordinator of special teams, defensive coordinator and offensive coordinator at one time or another.
“To be a head coach you have to know the ins and outs of all sides,” Menendez said. “He [Angle] let me do those things and explore. I coached every position and was coordinator on all three sides.
“It is a valuable learning experience and I was fortunate to have the opportunity.”
One aspect of Howland football that Menendez would like to change is recent playoff results. The Tigers have not been able to reach a regional final the last six years and have been one-and-done in three of those playoff appearances.
“Obviously you won’t replace a guy like Coach Angle, he has a lot of wins under his belt,” Menendez said about stepping into the top spot of a successful program. “I don’t look at it as pressure, I look at it as accepting a challenge to take the program a little bit further. I think Coach Angle would like that approach.”