Ye ol’ Naugatuck Valley Football League got mighty more intriguing Thursday with a blockbuster coaching move.
Chris Anderson, the former Derby all-stater who built Woodland’s football team from scratch into a two-time state champion in 2004 and 2005, is returning to coach the program. Kyle Brennan of the Waterbury Republican-American reported the news Thursday.
Anderson, 43, takes over for his former assistant Tim Phipps, who coached the team for one year before he was hired at The Hopkins School last month.
Woodland, which was 4-7 in the one year under Phipps, is 97-51 since it began varsity play in 2002.
Anderson, who began his career at Shelton and coached Dan Orlovsky, still owns half the school’s all-time wins. He was 47-21 as the Hawks’ head coach until resigning after the 2007 season.
Anderson coached at the University of New Haven as quarterbacks coach an offensive coordinator and resigned in 2012 after the Chargers advanced to the NCAA Division II playoffs.
He’s remained a physical education teacher at Woodland but was not coaching when the school’s football job reopened, even though he has annually been mentioned as a candidate for several high-profile jobs. He was an actual candidate at Woodland last, but ultimately pulled his name out.
WRHS’ Anderson: “I love football, I love the kids at Woodland and the time is just right for me to get back into the mix again.” #cthsfb
— Kyle Brennan (@kylebrennan1) June 5, 2015
Anderson began when Woodland opened in 2001. His team was 3-8 in his first varsity year, but it took him just two more seasons to turn the NVL newcomer into a state champion.
Woodland went 12-0, won the NVL championship and defeated league rival Holy Cross 35-0 in the Class SS championship for its first state title. The following year, Woodland was 12-1, repeated as NVL champions and held on to beat Scott Lutrus and Brookfield, 19-13 in Class SS title game.
Woodland missed the playoffs at 6-4 in 2006, but returned in 2007. The Hawks were 8-3 and lost to Seymour 47-28 in the Class SS semifinals.
Woodland have been to the state playoffs three times since Anderson’s departure, all under former coach Tim Shea. The Hawks lost the 2013 Class S championship to Valley rival Ansonia.
- Amity — Bert Mozelous resigned | Ted Czepiga hired
- Bridgeport Central – Mike Farrell hired to replace Brian Gordon.
- Bristol Eastern – Mike Achrangelo resigned after season | Paul Phillippon rumored to return (unconfirmed)
- Bunnell – Doug Cotto fired at midseason | Interim coach Sean Mignone hired
- Canton – Paul Phillippon resigned after three seasons, citing low numbers | Chris Currier hired
- Capital Prep / Achievement First — Chris Fulton resigned
- Coginchaug – John Bozzi resigns | Nick DeAngelo hired
- East Haven – Anthony Lucibello resigned at midseason | Melvin Wells hired
- E.O. Smith — Jody Minotti resigned
- Fairfield Prep – Tom Shea resigns, defensive coordinator Keith Hellstern hired
- Fitch – Jordan Panucci not renewed after season | Mike Ellis hired from Waterford
- Greenwich — Rich Albonizio pressured to resign after 18 years | NC OC John Marinelli hired
- Guilford – Tom Unger resigned | Morgan coach Mike Eagle hired
- Hopkins — Tom Parr retired | Woodland’s Tim Phipps hired
- Hyde (Career/Whitney Tech) – Melvin Wells resigns to take job at East Haven | Brandon McCormick hired
- Lyman Hall – Rob Marone fired at midseason | Interim Aiden Lynch hired
- Morgan – Mike Eagle hired at Guilford | Former Hand assistant Peter Nye hired
- Notre Dame-Fairfield – Ted Boynton resigned after two seasons | Chris Sadler hired
- Northwest Catholic – Mike Tyler retired at end of season | Brett Quinion hired
- Old Saybrook / Westbrook – Vacancy | Mike Marone hired
- Platt Tech — Jimmy Benjamin hired
- CREC Public Safety — Looking for head coach
- Sacred Heart / Kaynor Tech — Cort Johnson resigned | Phil Dawson hired
- Simsbury — Jeff Osborne resigned | Dave Masters hired
- Stafford / Somers / East Windsor — Somers absorbed, Ellington assistant Brian Mazzone hired
- Waterford – Mike Ellis resigned after season | Assistant John Strecker hired
- West Haven — Ed McCarthy officially retired
- Wilby – Geno Capuano resigned Jan 3 | Peter Flammia hired
- Woodland — Tim Phipps hired at Hopkins | Chris Anderson returns