Since returning to his Southeast Washington alma mater four years ago, Cato June had applied for other jobs that piqued his interest. Last week, his phone actually rang.
June confirmed Monday he will step down as athletic director and football coach at Anacostia at the end of the school year and become the next football coach at C.H. Flowers in Prince George’s County. June, the 1997 All-Met defensive player of the year, compiled a 12-23 record in three seasons at Anacostia, including a 4-8 mark this past fall.
“I look at everything, in terms of life, you want to continue to progress. You want to continue to try new things,” June, 35, said in a telephone interview. “People look up and say, ‘How he leave his alma mater for another school,’ but I think that I’m a competitive guy. I want to continue to challenge myself. It was an intriguing spot.”
June cited Flowers’s larger enrollment and the reputation of Prince George’s County football as factors in his decision. He interviewed with C.H. Flowers last week and announced he would be leaving Anacostia on Sunday. C.H. Flowers finished with a 5-5 this past season.
“The whole competition level out there in terms of the perception of what the best football is around in the area and trying to be a part of that, go pursue a state championship, all those things kind of came into . . . why Flowers would be an intriguing spot to pursue,” June said.
June’s return to Anacostia in 2011 offered great hope because of the example his backstory might set in the community. The University of Michigan product became Anacostia’s defensive coordinator at the conclusion of his seven-year NFL career, which included a Pro Bowl appearance and a Super Bowl ring with the Indianapolis Colts.
A year later, June was named Anacostia’s head coach, and the Indians went 6-6 in his first season. He also got other notable Anacostia alumni involved with the school’s sports, most notably former Southern California guard Dwayne Shackleford, who led the Indians’ girls’ basketball program to the DCIAA regular season title this winter.
Some of Anacostia’s football staff will follow June to C.H. Flowers, and he will also help conduct the search for his replacement at Anacostia before leaving.
“I want to have a smooth transition, not just kind of pick up and leave. It’s still my alma mater, so I still care deeply about the sports and how it affects the school,” said June, who said it’s still unclear if he will have a role at C.H. Flowers outside of football coach next fall. “I think it’s important to me to have a person in there that cares about the community, cares about the kids, understands the struggle and knows what they’re getting into and understands the dynamics of D.C. and how things work.
“It’s just a little different . . . and you have to be up for the challenge. It’s a beautiful thing when you see the success of the kids because you know a lot of times they’re given the short end of the stick. Being able to be in that role, for me, has been fulfilling and I don’t want to have a drop off in that part of it. The mentoring piece is just as important as trying to win football games.”