DeMatha has promoted assistant coach Elijah Brooks to be its next football coach.
Brooks, 27, the team’s running backs coach since 2007, confirmed his hiring Tuesday morning and an announcement could come as early as Tuesday afternoon.
Brooks succeeds Bill McGregor at the helm of the area’s most high-profile football program. McGregor resigned last month after 29 years as the Hyattsville private school’s head coach.
“Youth is in, I can’t help my age,” Brooks said, noting that veterans Deno Campbell and Tim Breslin have agreed to be his defensive and offensive coordinators, respectively. “There are some guys that have been coaching for 18 or 20 years, but that doesn’t make them a good coach. They’ve just been coaching for 18 or 20 years.
“I’m very confident, and my players are very confident, in my abilities as a leader. I’ve been working hands-on with the team since the end of the season. We’re very excited to move forward.”
Brooks is a 2002 graduate of DeMatha, where he played running back on the football team and point guard on the basketball team. He played one year at Kent State before transferring to William & Mary and graduated from there in 2007 with a degree in kinesiology.
Hiring a coach so young and inexperienced is seen as a risky proposition by some – a group of alumni mobilized to try to find a more veteran candidate – but it is consistent with how DeMatha replaced legendary basketball coach Morgan Wootten in 2002 with one of his assistants, Mike Jones. While DeMatha struggled in Jones’s first season, the Stags soon returned to powerhouse status.
As part of the interview process to find McGregor’s successor, DeMatha officials asked defensive coordinator Campbell if he would remain on staff if Brooks is hired. Another of the four finalists who was interviewed, former Carroll coach Breslin, who had been a DeMatha assistant before taking last season off from coaching, was asked to be Brooks’s offensive coordinator, accordng to a school official. It is believed Campbell and Breslin have agreed to take on these positions under Brooks.
The other two candidates interviewed were Atholton Coach Kyle Schmitt and Dan Reardon of Ursuline High in Youngstown, Ohio, according to sources familiar with the situation.