In his 20 years as a high school football coach, Dave DeGeronimo has run offenses, defenses and special teams but never an entire program.
That’s about to change. DeGeronimo last month was hired as head coach at Los Altos High.
“I’ve done it all but head coach, and it was time to check that box,” he said of what piqued his interest in the job. “It’s a good opportunity at a school with good facilities, and I’m really excited.”
A native of New Jersey, DeGeronimo played college football (wide receiver and safety) at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. After seven years as a CPA, he went back to school to become a teacher, which the Menlo Park resident called “the best job in the world.” The married father of two girls is in his 13th year as a PE teacher at Palo Alto’s Greene Middle School (formerly Jordan).
DeGeronimo last year served as quality-control coach at Aragon, where he helped with the offense and defense. His coaching career includes two stints at both Palo Alto High and Sacred Heart Prep.
“I’ve worked for solid head coaches and learned a lot from them,” he said.
DeGeronimo said he plans to serve as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator as well and will employ a pro-set system with two backs and a tight end.
“It will be a combination of things I’ve seen over the years,” DeGeronimo said.
There’s a lot to be done before he starts devising plays, however. DeGeronimo must hire a staff (he has so far secured only a defensive coordinator) and try to convince more students to join the team.
“I need to recruit the campus and get more guys excited about football,” he said.
The 40 or so players DeGeronimo met with after being hired two weeks ago showed such excitement, he added.
“I thought it was positive,” the coach said. “They asked good questions about workouts and expectations.”
Workouts – more specifically not having a strength and conditioning class at Los Altos for his players – factored into Trevor Pruitt’s resignation after six seasons as the Eagles’ head coach. He told the Town Crier in January that he was frustrated by the lack of support from the administration, which included not allowing him to extend practices.
DeGeronimo said athletic director Michelle Noeth and principal Wynne Satterwhite “have been very supportive so far,” and he has a plan to compensate for not having a strength and conditioning class like many schools offer.
“We’re going to have workouts in the morning and afternoon after spring break,” he said.
As for practice time, DeGeronimo acknowledged that “field space is limited” at Los Altos – football must share the turf field with field hockey during the fall sports season – but “we can get our work done on grass, and I’m hopeful we can be proactive and schedule the right way.”
Noeth said Los Altos is “looking forward to an exciting season” with DeGeronimo guiding the football team. A member of the hiring committee that also included Satterwhite, Noeth said they narrowed the field of 22 applicants to seven finalists before selecting him.
“What stood out for me was how he handled the process; there were the little things that set him apart from the others, for me,” said Noeth, who noted that DeGeronimo’s interviews and references helped set him apart.
“I felt a good vibe from him that he wants to do what it takes to grow our football program,” she added.