Thomas Stone hires two new coaches
Cougars fill three spots with tandem
Thomas Stone High School athletic director Brad Criss hired two new coaches earlier this month to fill a trio of vacancies that cover the fall, winter and spring sports seasons.
Robby Zayas, a McDonough High School graduate who spent the 2017 season as the head baseball coach at St. Charles High School where he guided the Spartans to a 5-13 mark (a fourth-place 4-6 in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference’s Potomac Division) in his first year at the helm, will now take over as the baseball
coach at Thomas Stone following a year in which the Cougars did not field a varsity team. Coincidentally, St. Charles played its first two home games at Stone before eventually relocating to Laurel Springs Regional Park in La Plata.
Zayas takes over a Cougars program that is among the most storied in Maryland history with three state championships, three state runner-up finishes, six appearances in the state semifinals and 15 SMAC championships to its credit. This spring, Stone did not field a team due to low numbers.
“I am super excited about the opportunity to coach at Thomas Stone next spring,” Zayas said. “I know we’re going into the season following a year off, but Mr. Criss has already told me that the school and the alumni are really supportive and eager to see a team back on the field next spring. I would like to see Thomas Stone return to one of the best baseball programs in the area.”
Zayas also noted that he was very grateful for the opportunity to coach the St. Charles baseball team this spring. The Spartans were eliminated in the Class 3A South Region Section II quarterfinals, falling to eventual region champion Huntingtown in eight innings, 6-5.
“I can’t say enough about the support that [athletic director] Miss [Jen] Smith gave me throughout the season,” Zayas said. “It was a very valuable learning experience for me to finally be able to be a head baseball coach at the varsity level. I enjoyed being part of the program at St. Charles and I was very grateful for the opportunity Miss Smith gave me last season.”
Tynisha Payton, whose previous varsity coaching experience had come at DuVal High School and Surrattsville High School in Prince George’s County, has been named as the Stone’s head volleyball and girls basketball coach for the upcoming school year. Payton, who will also teach physical education at the school, was pleased to get tabbed for both positions.
“I took a little bit of time off from coaching to spend more time with my kids, but last year I got back into it as an assistant coach at Lackey,” Payton said. “Now, I’m really eager to get back into coaching volleyball and girls basketball at Thomas Stone. I’m really grateful for the opportunity. I’ve already met with the prospective players from both teams and I am really looking forward to coaching all of those young ladies.” Payton enjoyed tremendous success as the Surrattsville volleyball coach during her brief stay with the squad, guiding to the Hornets to consecutive Class 1A South Region titles and appearances in the state semifinals at the University of Maryland’s Ritchie Coliseum.
Payton takes over a Stone volleyball program that was 3-12 in 2016, tying for fourth with McDonough at 2-4 in the SMAC Potomac.
The Cougars girls basketball team went 17-6 during the 201617 season with a second-place 10-2 mark in the SMAC Potomac, reaching the 2A South Region Section I championship game.