Archbishop Wood names David Armstrong as its new head coach
David Armstrong thought the time was right. The former Central Bucks West great who played under the legendary Mike Pettine Sr. was named by Archbishop Wood as the school’s new football coach on Monday, taking over for Matt Walp, who decided to step down in May after two seasons. The Ivyland, Bucks County resident and father of five is in his sixth year at the traditionally strong program, previously serving as the team’s defensive coordinator.
Armstrong, a 1997 CB West grad, is the fourth coach of Wood in the last six years.
“I was thinking this is a natural progression for me and I had taken on more responsibility each year I’ve been (at Wood),” said Armstrong, 42, the Vikings’ defensive coordinator the last two years who played at Michigan. “I was an assistant coach and moved to defensive coordinator and I enjoyed that challenge. The actual game planning and taking over interested me. I know it’s a lot of work, but I’ve come to a stage in my life where I’ve come to the realization that the only real way you grow is to challenge yourself.
“The only real way you grow is to get out of your comfort zone. No one ever really regrets branching out and trying something new. This is a daunting task. We’re starting fresh in a lot of ways. I understand what is ahead of us, and I also understand this is going to take some time. I’m not looking for short-term results.
“I want to build on the foundation that is already there and move slowly forward and crawling before we run. I already spoke to the kids about that. I’m a Mike Pettine guy through and through. I wish Coach Pettine was still around. I want to make sure that we’re not rushing in. I’m a big believer in the Pettine way, and let’s face it, the Wood way, I would rather have 10 plays run perfectly than 100 plays run half-heartedly.”
Wood, has won six state titles, the most recent being in 2019 under Kyle Adkins. Adkins had inherited the program in 2018 from Steve Devlin, who established Wood as a statewide powerhouse. Walp came on in place of Adkins in 2020. The Vikings finished 5-5 last season, beating Neshaminy, Neumann-Goretti, Cheltenham, Roman Catholic, and Father Judge, but suffered losses in the rugged Catholic Red Division to perennial national power and state runner-up St. Joe’s Prep (twice) and La Salle and non-league losses to St. John’s of DC and Malvern Prep.
Wood had some talent depart to other schools, but the Vikings do have back some talent back in players like 6-foot-2, 250-pound senior-to-be two-way lineman Eric Gardner Jr., who is getting attention from numerous Division I schools. Wood will be a PIAA 5A school this season.
“Eric is a tremendous young man and he’s going to play a big role on this team, and we have a good group coming back from last year,” Armstrong said. “Our offensive line has a lot of quality good kids coming back. We have a kid like Cole Evans who’s started for us since his freshman year and has been a great player for us who’s flown under the radar. We’ll take a look at the numbers to see what’s what. I’m going to stress that we do things right and keep it simple and move the right way.
“I want to teach about being on time, look coaches in the eyes when you’re talking to them. If I can make these kids become better men someday, we’re going to win football games because of that.”
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been covering high school football since 1992 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on Twitter @JSantoliquito. Follow EasternPAFootball.com on Twitter @EPAFootball.
Follow EasternPAFootball.com on Twitter @EPAFootball
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