Returning to his passion, Delone Catholic grad named new South Western football head coach

ROB ROSE
717-505-5418/@robrosesports
Tony Shermeyer, center, was named the new head football coach at South Western High School.
  • Tony Shermeyer is the new head football coach at South Western.
  • The Delone Catholic High School graduate has previously been a head coach in Maryland.
  • The Mustangs were 2-5 last season and have had losing records since 2015.
  • Shermeyer replaces Chris Heilman, who resigned after last season.

Football has been in Tony Shermeyer’s life for more than 30 years.

It took a break from the sport, however, to show him how important it was to him.

The Delone Catholic High School graduate started coaching football at schools in Maryland in 2001, but stopped in 2017 to spend more time with his children. Last season, Shermeyer returned to coaching as an assistant for South Western and decided he missed it too much to stay away.

With the South Western head-coaching position opened up, after Chris Heilman resigned as his family prepares to move across the country, Shermeyer jumped at the chance to be a head coach again. The South Western position was especially appealing because it allows him to be near his family. The Shermeyer home is a 10-minute drive from the school.

South Western High School looks for head football coach after Chris Heilman's resignation

“I just love being out there working with kids,” Shermeyer said. “I love the game of football, but I enjoy working with the players more than anything. Coaching is really a passion of mine and I guess I didn't really realize that until I took a couple years off. It’s just something that when I'm out there, it brings me a lot of joy to be out there coaching kids. It's just something that I enjoy doing and I think it's something I'm good at. I can relate to the kids and I seem to be able to motivate kids.”

Shermeyer still teaches in Maryland, where most of his coaching career has occurred. Shermeyer became head coach of Century High School in 2005 and stayed there until 2008. In 2009, he took over the Manchester Valley High School position until he stepped down in 2017.

At both schools, Shermeyer either built or rebuilt the programs from struggling squads to postseason participants. At South Western, he will be tasked with taking on a similar task. The Mustangs went 2-5 last season during a shortened season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Mustangs, who were the dominant program in York-Adams Division I in the 1990s under longtime head coach Don Seidenstricker, have had losing records since 2015. In recent years, Central York, York High and Red Lion have become the dominant D-I programs. Shermeyer is hoping his Mustangs will soon be able to join that group.

Changing the offense: Shermeyer’s first major move will be to change the Mustangs’ playbook. South Western will run a spread offense this season after years of operating from a Wing-T formation. Shermeyer expects it to be a process that takes time.

“I think the biggest thing that I took from building new programs is the patience that I developed working with kids and putting a new system in,” Shermeyer said. “I think that's what it's going to take as we transition the type of offense that a lot of those kids have run for just about all their life, to running a different type of offense and getting used to me as the head coach.”

Shermeyer added that the Mustangs players are excited to learn their new offense and at a recent team meeting 25 seniors were there asking when they will get playbooks. South Western’s new coach believes that his year on the staff as an assistant coach will help make the transition smooth this summer.

Perfect opportunity: After a few years away, Shermeyer is excited that the perfect opportunity presented itself. The chance to pursue his passion and spend time with his family is here and Shermeyer is ready to rebuild another program back in the area where his football career began.

“I’m ecstatic about the situation,” Shermeyer said. “I get to do something I'm very passionate about and I don't have to do it away from my kids. We live 10 minutes away from the school, so I'm extremely excited about the opportunity that I was given. People around here are excited to go and I just want to make sure I work hard for them, do right by the kids in the program to build a culture up and pack stadiums again.”

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.