Legendary James Monroe Coach Rich Serbay (File Photo: Andy Hilton/recruitNoVA)
After 35 years at James Monroe, Rich Serbay will be seeking new employment
by Jim McGrath, recruitNoVA
Rich Serbay, possibly the longest tenured high school football coach in Northern Virginia, has been released from his position at James Monroe High School.
Under Serbay’s watch, which stretched 35 years, the Yellow Jackets won 259 games and four state championships.
According to the coach, the separation from the Fredericksburg school was not his decision.
“I didn’t retire. I was released,” Serbay told the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. “They want to go in a different direction, so I’m home relaxing. Serbay added, “I wish them luck and I’m done. I don’t know what direction they want to go. It’s their program. They can do what they want to do.”
Serbay, a Yonkers, NY native, played for three colleges and finished his career with Towson State. After a pair of brief stints coaching in the Baltimore area, Serbay accepted a position as the offensive line coach at Stafford High. He also assisted the wrestling team and served as the Indians’ JV baseball coach.
In 1982, Serbay accepted an assistant coaching position at James Monroe, and after Joe Lanford’s retirement three years later, he was elevated to the head spot.
Serbay’s first team went 4-5-1, but the following year, the Jackets completed a perfect season at 14-0 and earned Serbay his first state title.
James Monroe defended its championship the following year, and added AA, Division 3 crowns in 1996 and 2008.
The news of Serbay’s dismissal traveled quickly, with fellow coaches, former players and current players expressing their disappointment.
“Pride comes from within”. Thank you so much for guiding me to be the best person and player I can be. You can not think of James Monroe Football without thinking of you leading the way. Thank you Coach Serbay, for everything. #TCB pic.twitter.com/N8CqRyCps0
— aidan ryan☠️ (@aaidannn) February 20, 2020
— Coach Serbay (@SamSerbay) February 20, 2020
The program saw a down year (0-10 in 2000) at the beginning of the century, but reeled off five successive double-digit win seasons from 2011-2015, after the last state championship. The Yellow Jackets slipped to 3-8 in 2018, but rebounded last season to finish 9-4, earning a share of the Battlefield District title, and reaching the region final, where they lost to Goochland.
Serbay was inducted into the Virginia High School League Hall of Fame in 2014, two years after being selected for the James Monroe High Hall of Fame.
– Jim McGrath