Yet another coaching change (Hillhouse), and New London and NFA's HEAVY METAL CLASH


There's six more days until teams can start conditioning, more than enough time for yet another coaching change.

Tom Dyer resigned Wednesday after six years at Hillhouse to become Hamden's athletic director, as first reported by Joe "Matrimonial" Morelli of the New Haven Register.

Dyer went 51-17 during his tenure and coached the team to the CIAC Class M title in 2010 and 2012.

Academics' assistant Reggie Lytle was promoted to interim head coach. He's been with the program for three seasons and is the president of New Haven's Pop Warner program.

Lytle has high standards to uphold as Dyer successfully continued the winning tradition started by his predecessor, Eric Barbarito.

It doesn't seem that long ago (although it was) that Hillhouse would've been happy with a 5-5 record as the program was a perpetual loser.

The Academics went 37-59-5 from 1987-1996. Yeah, it's not the worst record in football history, but they had just one winning season during that 10 year stretch.

Barbarito arrived in 1997, and it took a few years to kickstart the program — the Acs had four losing seasons in his first five years.

Everything changed in 2002. Hillhouse won the CIAC Class SS title, just the second in program history. It's had only one losing season since then.

Dyer took over the Acs in 2007 after being an assistant for six years. The dude got the job done as he never had a losing year. He was also at the helm of one of the best football championship stories of this young millennium, too.

Hillhouse was on the brink of missing the 2010 Class M playoffs as it was 4-3 more than two-thirds through the season. It went on to win its final three games, including a 30-28 nail-biter over city-rival Wilbur Cross on Thanksgrabbing Day.

The Academics qualified as the eighth and final seed in the newly expanded playoffs. They wouldn't have, however, had either Cheney Tech and Coventry/Windham Tech won its final game. Instead, East Catholic beat Cheney on Thanksgrabbing Eve, and Ellington/Somers knocked off C/WT the next morning.

Hillhouse began the playoffs at unbeaten defending champion Berlin, and trailed by nine points with four minutes left. It then went on a furious rally, concluding with Taurese Washington's 3-yard touchdown run with 30 seconds left, giving it a 33-30 win.

The Academics went on to beat New London for the state title, 7-0.

Lytle faces some challenges as the Acs' new leader. He doesn't have much time to ease into the gig with conditioning coming up. Hillhouse also graduated over half of its starting lineup.

The Academics will be on the road the entire season as Bowen Field is finally getting the TLC it needed back when humans only used phones tethered to chords.

Three of Hillhouse's first four games are against Darien, two-time Class L champ Hand, and three-time Class LL kingpin Xavier. And although the Acs and North Haven have run the SCC's D-II for a few years, Foran and Guilford look capable of taking over.

Dyer's exit is the THIRTY FIRST coaching change this offseason. We think. Everything got fuzzy between the 20th and 21st switch.

Among the most notable offseason moves were:

■ The retirement of two-time state champion Mike Emery (Fitch).

■ Two state championship coaches going to new places — Craig Bruno (Naugatuck), and John Murphy (New Milford).

■ The return of eight-time state champion Jack Cochran (Harding).

Needless to say, the iPhone's contact list is a mess.

■ ■ ■ ■

New London and Norwich Free Academy take their rivalry to the bench press Friday as the two teams face off in a weightlifting competition.

The event will be held at New London at 5:30 p.m., and YOU are invited to attend. Buy a t-shirt while you're there, too.

Vaya con dios....

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