Diamond Bar High School looked far and wide for its next football coach and found him in New York.
The school announced on Wednesday that Marcus Hughes, who spent the past six seasons at Cornwall Central High in New York, is the Brahmas new varsity football head coach.
“We expanded our search nationwide and Coach Hughes stood out far and above all of the other candidates we had,” Diamond Bar athletic director Kurt Davies said. “His track record not only with winning and losing but with developing young men and developing them academically, that stood out. He’s definitely going to be the leader we’re looking for, for a long time.”
Hughes, 34, replaces Ryan Maine, who resigned in February after three seasons with a 15-17 record and one trip to the CIF-Southern Section playoffs.
Hughes is originally from Colorado and was looking for a job in California in order to move here with his wife and children. He went 67-13 in seven seasons at Cornwall and went to the state playoffs in New York the past three seasons.
“I was extremely picky about applying for jobs in California,” Hughes said. “I saw Diamond Bar on the internet and the first thing I looked up was the academics because of my three daughters. And I went back and researched the history on Diamond Bar football.
“I decided to apply and talked to Kurt and he sounded like a great guy. When you interview for jobs, you can tell a lot about a school by talking to the committee and they do a great job over here.”
Hughes inherits a program that has fallen hard times since being one of the area’s most successful up until the late 1990s and early 2000s. Since then, a demographics shift and the opening of several other schools nearby by like Diamond Ranch and Chino Hills have cut into the talent pool.
The Brahmas were 7-5 this past season and upset 2012 Southeast Division champion Downey in the first round of the playoffs before losing to 2013 champ La Serna in the second round.
Diamond Bar lost standout receiver Cordell Broadus, who transferred this offseason to Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, but the Brahmas still have several standouts on campus, including highly recruited receiver/defensive back Kanya Bell, quarterback Tyler Petersen and all-purpose threat Antonio “Noodles” Hull.
“It seems like the kids are committed,” Hughes said. “We just have to keep it going and be consistent. It definitely has the potential to be … it’s already a great school, but has the potential to be even better in football.”
Diamond Bar is currently slated to play in the newly formed Palomares League next season, but that’s somewhat in the air as the Mt. SAC Area for re-leaguing will meet later this month to alter several local leagues in order to fit in Damien/St. Lucy’s.
Davies said that Diamond Bar had 140 applicants for the job.