WALLINGFORD — The Lyman Hall football team went from winning five games in the past five years to winning five games in the 2017 season alone.
The one big difference from the past five years and this season? Lyman Hall’s new head coach, Bill Weyrauch.
Weyrauch led the Trojans to a 5-5 record in his first year running the program. At season’s end, he was named Coach of the Year in SCC Tier 3.
“The timing was really good for myself to come in right now,” said Weyrauch. “I was fortunate enough to have players that were battle-tested and to be in the building all the time to be there for these guys.”
Weyrauch is at Lyman Hall as a math teacher. The head coach position is important for Weyrauch, but during the season he made sure that being a teacher never took a back seat to football.
“I think the whole purpose of sports is that education and sports coincide with one another,” said Weyrauch. “I think the reason we play sports is to help them academically. I know my own kids took pride in doing well academically because they wanted to be successful on the athletic field, so that was kind of their motivation to do well in school.”
Weyrauch was part of the Lyman Hall football program for a decade before taking over as head coach. He was an offensive coordinator and position coach before stepping away after the 2010 season to follow the high school careers of his sons, Bill and Brian, at Cheshire. Brian, the younger of the two, graduated in 2017.
Still, when Weyrauch was approached to see if he wanted to take the Lyman Hall job this year, he was not sure at first. Once he eventually took the job, Weyrauch said, it proved to be one of the best decisions of his life.
Lyman Hall’s athletic director, Steve Baker, has no regrets either.
“I remember back to the interview, when we were interviewing for head coaches,” Baker recalled. “When (Weyrauch) left the room, everyone in the room wanted to run through a wall for him. He just got you that ready to go.
“He’s so enthusiastic about football. but moreso just wanted to do what was best for the kids at Lyman Hall.”
Weyrauch certainly delivered in doing what was best for the players at Lyman Hall. Seniors like Nick Santello, Henry Febbriello, Randy McFarline and Matt Velardi only got to experience a handful of wins before their senior year, but never lost faith in the program.
Weyrauch and Baker were very happy that they could send the seniors out on a high note in what had been a four-year journey that saw plenty of adversity, including the dismissal of two head coaches.
“Me, personally, I couldn’t be more thankful for those seniors,” said Baker. “We had to put a new turf down their first year and everything, but they stuck by the program and I couldn’t be happy for them, and a bunch of that credit goes to Bill.”
Lyman Hall was a consistently bad football team for the past five years, which is evident by the win total. The 2017 season was a big step in the right direction. Weyrauch is now focused on making sure that the program continues to move in the right direction.
“What I’ve learned this year is I have so much room for improvement to go forward,” said Weyrauch.
“I’ve learned so much this year being a first-year head coach and I feel like I can use that next year moving forward and really help me next season.”