Pete Eibner had actually just come to the track one day in June as part of a training session with a high school athlete.
Eibner, a former standout soccer player at UMBC, has served as a coach at the high school, college and club level since 1992 and also owns Fast Forward Training Systems, a company focused on speed and agility training as well as improving soccer skills. Through his company, Eibner has worked with, and trained, numerous Perry Hall athletes throughout the years.
So when new Perry Hall athletic director Bob Hruz saw Eibner on the track that day, and knew the Gators’ soccer team needed a coach to replace recently departed Danny Skelton, who left to take the job at St. Paul’s School, Hruz was quick to express interest in Eibner.
“He told me that Danny had left, and asked if I’d be interested in putting in an application for the job,” Eibner recalled. “And I told him that I’d love to put in an application.”
So Eibner did, interviewed with Perry Hall principal George Roberts shortly later, eventually accepted the job and is now set to begin his first season as the Gators’ head coach.
Prior to joining Perry Hall, the 41-year old Eibner had spent the last two years working as an assistant coach at UMBC, in addition to his work as a trainer. He played for UMBC from 1990-91. He was also an assistant coach for Archbishop Curley’s soccer team from 1992-96 as well as in 2006.
At UMBC in 2010, Eibner helped guide the Retrievers to an America East Conference championship.
He said leaving UMBC for Perry Hall was a difficult decision, but that both he and Retrievers coach Pete Caringi, who Eibner referred to as a father figure, thought the move to Perry Hall presented a good opportunity for him. Aside from just coaching under Caringi, Eibner also played under him at Essex Community College from 1988-89.
“It was a very difficult decision,” Eibner said. “I absolutely loved coaching at UMBC, and Pete’s been a great mentor. So, [when I first got offered the Perry Hall job], I asked him what he thought about it, and he told me that he thought it would be a good move for me. He thought it would be good for my experience to learn to be a head coach at this level and to expand my horizons a little bit.”
And now Eibner takes over a talented Gators team that reached the Class 4A North championship game last season.
Perry Hall will have to replace several key players from that team, including top scorer Joe Glos, but Eibner is confident in the Gators’ returning players to pick up the slack and help the team compete for a regional championship.
Eibner mentioned senior midfielders Chris White and Vinny Magliono as players that will be key offensive catalysts for Perry Hall this year. He described White as “a very crafty player with the ball that’s also smart and very energetic” and Magliono as a player “that’s really come into his own and has done a fabulous job stepping in as a team leader.” He said midfielder Rob Allman, defender Chad Burkowski and goalie Austin Kroll will also play big roles for the Gators this season.
Even aside from just this year, though, Eibner is excited for what he describes as a bright future at Perry Hall, eager to help the Gators compete for the first state championship in school history.
“I’m very focused on helping Perry Hall win that first state championship,” Eibner said. “Obviously, our first goal is winning every championship we can. We want to compete for the Baltimore County championship, the regional championship and, of course, the state championship. But I’m just focused on getting these kids better, getting them to improve and also preparing them for what they’ll see down the line if they play in college.”
And Skelton sees Eibner as the perfect person to help Perry Hall’s players accomplish all of those things.
Skelton said, “It tore me up to leave Perry Hall, but I was ecstatic knowing that I was leaving the program in Pete’s capable hands.”
He added, “With Pete’s personality, his excitement and energy in life, and his approach to, and passion for, the game of soccer, I know the program is being left in very good hands. He’s the kind of guy that will come in and immediately earn the players’ respect, and immediately get them to buy into his system and his philosophy. Pete and I very much see eye to eye in how the game should be played, so I think it should be a smooth transition for both him and the team.”