As Aram Tolegian confirmed, Mike Mooney is back and takes the reigns at San Marino High after D.R. Moreland decided to step down to further his education. Mooney’s no stranger to the West, so I ask you this: Does this make Mooney the biggest name in the West San Gabriel Valley?
By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
San Marino High School announced assistant principal Mike Mooney as its new football coach on Monday, ending weeks of speculation that Mooney would replace D.R. Moreland, who resigned in late March to further his education.
San Marino gave Mooney his first head coaching position in 1996. Mooney left San Marino after the 1998 season to become head coach at his alma mater Temple City where he guided the Rams to four Rio Hondo League titles during a successful eight-year run.
Mooney was back at San Marino for the 2007 school year after accepting his current assistant principal position. He served as offensive coordinator for Moreland for the past two seasons.
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“Obviously it’s going to be uncharted waters in some respects because I’ll be balancing my administrative position with being the head coach,” Mooney said. “But mostly this was done out of a sense of loyalty to my employers because we’re in need of a head football coach, it’s getting late in the year and there’s no teaching position.
“And having been away from head coaching for three years, it made me realize that I missed it more than I realized. It was the right fit for the right time for the right reasons.”
San Marino is coming off a 9-3 season in which the Titans ended a long drought without a CIF-Southern Section playoff victory. They also had a strong year in 2008, going 8-3. Keeping the program on the upswing is Mooney’s priority.
“We will continue the effort to be as competitive as we can possibly be, day in and day out,” Mooney said. “We’ve made some strides over the past few years, creating a culture where you can be competitive in school and in football.”
Mooney cited keeping as much of San Marino’s homegrown talent as possible in a Titans uniform rather than going to private schools. He’ll get a boost by inheriting an exciting freshman team that went 9-1 this past season.
“That’s been an ongoing goal that began before I came here in 2007,” Mooney said of getting all of the city’s talent to San Marino High. “That will continue to be a primary focus. I don’t foresee that we’ll be able to keep 100 percent of the kids, but we’ll be really able to work with the ones who stay.”
Mooney, who played at USC after a stellar career at Temple City, said the thought of one day being a head coach again was the furthest thing from his mind when he left his alma mater in 2007 for his current position at San Marino.
“Let’s face it, I’m not very well traveled,” Mooney said. “And it’s been a short commute either way. This was never on my radar. I thought those days (being a head coach) were over when I packed up my car and headed down Huntington Drive.
“But the fact of the matter is that I’m a football guy, they need a football guy and I’m here. And the parents and kids have been great to me here.”