There’s going to be a new face patrolling the Pine Bush football field this fall, as Richard Ormsby was confirmed in April as the Bushmen’s new head football coach after former coach Jim Wright retired from coaching the team.
Ormsby has been in the Bushmen’s program before, spending nine years as an assistant coach before moving over to Middletown for five seasons. He was most recently the Middies’ offensive coordinator.
“I’m excited to be back on the sidelines,” Ormsby said. “As nice as that facility is in Middletown, I started on the Pine Bush sidelines. It’s one of the few grass fields left and it’s, maybe, the nicest grass field going. I’m pumped to see the fans and the parents. The students are awesome. We bring great crowds to everything we do, and I’m excited for the kids. Everybody’s excited.”
It’s been difficult to be excited about the Bushmen the past two seasons, as they’ve had a string of tough luck since winning the Section 9 Class AA championship in 2019.
They only played four games during the Spring 2021 COVID-19 shortened season and lost all four by an average of nearly 26 points and had two games canceled by COVID-19. They lost their first seven games in 2020 before staving off a second straight winless season with a 32-14 win over the Goshen Gladiators on Nov. 4, 2021.
“I don’t think there’s a root cause of the struggles the past two years,” Ormsby said. “I think the COVID pandemic was just tough. A lot of places struggled and Pine Bush football, maybe, struggled a little bit more. I know they had a lot of injuries the past couple of years. They had some key injuries that were crushing to them. They had a lot of success in Pine Bush, it was just the last two years, and any program is going to have its ups and downs.”
Ormsby praised Wright’s triple-option offense but said the Bushmen may throw the ball more. He also praised the defense put together by former assistant coach Mike McDonald.
Wright, who was recently confirmed as an assistant coach at Ellenville, had coached the Bushmen for the past 17 seasons. McDonald will be an assistant at Goshen in the fall.
“I ran that defense as well when I was at Pine Bush and it’s a fantastic defense, but we’re going to change that up, as well,” Ormsby said.
The Bushmen had lived and died with the running game in recent history, and during his five years at Middletown, Ormsby said he has learned a ton about the passing game under Middletown coach Tim Strenfel, a former wide receiver at East Stroudsburg.
“For the last five years, we played with all kinds of different concepts and plays and things,” Ormsby said. “Over time, I homed in one the ones that I like and I’m excited to bring a lot back to Pine Bush. I think the kids are excited for it.”
Ormsby has taught in the Pine Bush school district for the past 15 years, spending 14 years at Circleville Elementary School before transferring to Pine Bush High School this year.
It was easier to coach in a neighboring district when he was teaching at the elementary school, but now that he’s in the high school, the head football coach position opened up at the right time.
“It’s a great place,” Ormsby said. “Pine Bush is awesome. I really enjoy it. It’s been great to my family for the past 15 years now.
He hasn’t only coached football at Pine Bush. He’s also had success in wrestling and track and field. He coached Tommy Askey to a state wrestling title in 2019 and most recently coached Madison Williams to Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association and Section 9 championships in the long and triple jumps. She also performed well at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association meet, finishing eighth in both events.
“I really appreciate coming from Middletown and I what I was able to experience and learn over there,” Ormsby said. “I’ve always appreciated Pine Bush. I’m excited to get started and have some fun.”