Aaron Brady compiled a 29-16 record in four seasons at the helm of Gonzaga. (Joel Richardson/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

Aaron Brady has stepped down as Gonzaga’s football coach after four seasons to take the same position at Malvern Prep in his family’s home state of Pennsylvania.

Citing a desire to coach at a school located near where both he and his wife are from, Brady informed his players and Gonzaga officials Monday morning of what he called one of the toughest decisions he’s ever had to make.

“For me, it’s just a family decision to get back to where I’m from, but it’s bittersweet because I love Gonzaga and will really miss it,” Brady said in a phone interview. “Like I told the players, they’re all from the D.C. area; I’m not from here. So at some point, you have that itch to go back home. I wasn’t looking, but when this opportunity arose, it was too hard to pass up.”

Brady said he was contacted recently by Malvern Prep about filling its head football coaching vacancy. After taking a visit to the campus and being offered the position, Brady accepted the role last week.

In four seasons at Gonzaga, Brady led the Eagles to a 29-16 record and four Washington Catholic Athletic Conference playoff appearances, including the 2011 championship game.

“I love Gonzaga, but this marks an exciting new chapter in my life,” Brady said. “Gonzaga helped me grow as a football coach and a person. I’ll be rooting for these guys (at Gonzaga) to win a championship.

Brady’s decision punctuates an eventful five-day span for the Eagles football team. Last week, highly touted junior defensive back Marcus Lewis announced his decision to transfer to IMG Academy in Florida for his senior season. On Friday, junior offensive lineman Richie Petitbon committed to play at Alabama.

Gonzaga athletic director Joe Reyda said that a committee will be formed to find a replacement for Brady in the near future.

“We’re sad to see Aaron go because he did a tremendous job building this program,” Reyda said. “We don’t have anything in writing as to what direction we’ll go at this point, but we believe it’s an attractive position that we can fill sooner rather than later.”