Matt Bechtel is a natural candidate for the Damien High School head football coaching position that came available Sunday with Greg Gano’s resignation after four seasons. He has had success as a head coach, is a young respected offensive mind and, perhaps most importantly, is a graduate of Damien.
After spending one season as the Chino Hills offensive coordinator following two seasons as Colony’s head coach, the former Damien quarterback says he is happy where he is and hasn’t seriously considered the possibility of becoming the head coach at Damien.
“I’m neutral,” Bechtel said. “I’m happy at Chino Hills. But obviously I want Damien to do well and I’ve always thought about being the guy there. I just don’t have a feeling of what they’re looking for. I don’t know if they’re looking for a quick fix or a guy to be there for a long time.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, Bechtel hadn’t been contacted by anyone from the Damien administration. He has had a few conversations with people he’s kept in touch with since his playing days for the Spartans. The future of Damien athletics will be greatly effected by the school’s placement, which has been recommended for the parochial area by the CIF-SS. Damien will likely protest the move, preferring to remain in the Sierra League where they figure to remain more competitive.
Bechtel has been competitive at every stop of his career. His second season at Colony, the team won the 2011 Mt. Baldy League championship, finished 11-2 and reached the CIF-SS Central Division semifinals. His offense at Chino Hills last season averaged 40.7 points and 448 yards per game before the Huskies bowed out of the playoffs in the first round. In six seasons at Los Osos, Bechtel was the offensive coordinator for four league championship teams.
Chino Hills, which finished second to Covina Charter Oak in the Sierra League, defeated Damien, 56-14, last season. Under Gano, Damien went 20-22 with two playoff appearances and no postseason victories. The Spartans went 3-6 last season and finished tied for last in the Sierra League.
“Having played at Damien there’s a natural desire to want to see the place succeed,” Bechtel said. “But there’s a lot of uncertainty there with the talk that they’re going to the parochial league, the talk that they might stay.”