Sussex Tech alum hired as grid coach

GEORGETOWN — Brad Ellingsworth is only 28 years old.

But he’s already going into his ninth season as a high school football coach.

And he’s worked under four different head coaches.

So what Ellingsworth lacks in age, he hopes he makes up for in coaching experience. He’s going to rely on that experience now that he’s been named the new head football coach at his alma mater, Sussex Tech High.

“I did feel like I was ready as much as I’ve been around — even though I’m 28,” said the former Ravens’ offensive lineman and linebacker. “I felt like I had a good background. I felt like I coached under some really good coaches.

“I did not expect it,” Ellingsworth admitted. “It was one of those things where I thought, ‘Well, I’m going to apply for it and see what happens.’ When I got the phone call that I got the job I was speechless. I’m pretty excited.”

A 2010 grad, Ellingsworth is the first Sussex Tech alumnus to be the Ravens’ head football coach.

He replaces Mark Quillin, who led Sussex Tech to a record of 43-30 over the past seven seasons. Quillin left during the school year to become the head coach at Seaford.

At Sussex Tech, Ellingsworth coached under both Quillin and Bill Collick. He also worked as an assistant coach at Laurel High under Glenn Phillips and Eston Ennis.

“i actually feel like that’s a big part of my growth,” Ellingsworth said about working for different coaches. “Everybody’s got different coaching philosophies. I saw a lot of things that worked well and some things that didn’t work.

“I obviously have a lot of experience in handling coaching changes and being able to adapt to different coaching styles.”

Ellingsworth is a sixth-grade math teacher at Mariner Middle School in the Cape Henlopen School District. He grew up mostly in Laurel as a youngster.

Ellingsworth knows that coaching at a vo-tech school, with no feeder system, brings some unique challenges. Sussex Tech now selects its students by lottery and its enrollment is capped at about 1,240.

“Without having a feeder program, it’s very important for us to make sure that ninth-grade team is taken care of,” said Ellingsworth. “We need to make sure that we encourage all athletes in the building to come out.

“It’s kind of a coin flip. One year it could be you don’t have as many athletes and then the next year you get a surplus of athletes. I still think we’re going to coach as hard as we can and try to get the best out of the kids. We have really great kids.

“No matter the talent level, if you’ve got good character kids who work really hard, I think you always have a chance.”

Veteran assistant coaches Scott Layfield, G.L. Jefferson and Jim Durkin are expected to remain on the Ravens’ staff.

Of course, the biggest challenge facing any football coach right now — young or old — is dealing with the limitations enacted to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

With students out of the building, Ellingsworth hasn’t even been able to meet with his new players in person, yet. School facilities are also closed.

“We’ve had to be creative,” said Ellingsworth. “It’s been an adjustment to do some of these things virtually. But, at the end of the day, it’s still not a substitute for being there with each other. It definitely presents a unique challenge.”