When Tom Tarantino, athletic director at The Bishop’s School, was looking for someone he could trust to continue the upward progress of his most high-profile sport, he didn’t have to look far.
He wanted to hire a head varsity football coach with a proven track record and someone with a solid reputation in the local community, and he found that coach in Mike David.
David was hired recently to head the Knights’ football program. He’s a longtime San Diego County coach who has often been on the opposing sidelines in games against Bishop’s He coached for 10 years at Marian Catholic and seven more at University of San Diego High School.
“More than anything, he has been successful,” Tarantino said of David. “He has been in high regard in the football community. Not only is his football knowledge as good as anybody’s, he really is a true person of great character.”
David comes to The Bishop’s School wielding an impressive resume. He worked as an assistant coach for seven years at University of San Diego High School, serving as the team’s offensive coordinator for the last four of them. He moved on to Marian Catholic as the school’s head coach from 1992 to 2001, a time span during which he undertook an extremely successful re-building project.
The team had gone 0-10 the year before he arrived, being out-scored 383-20, he said.
In David’s first year on the sidelines, the team had a 6-4 record and found its name in the CIF-San Diego Section playoff brackets.
In the next nine years, Marian Catholic won six championships in its league, went to the section finals five times and came home with a CIF-SDS championship trophy two times.
From there, David moved on to San Ysidro High School, which had just opened when he arrived there in the fall of the 2002-03 school year. He started with a team that had just freshmen and sophomores and played a junior varsity schedule.
In his second year there, his junior varsity team won consistently, and last year, in the school’s first year fielding a senior class, San Ysidro qualified for the postseason.
David said he felt the time was right to take his next step in the coaching profession, and when he saw the opportunity that was present at The Bishop’s School, he couldn’t pass it up.
“I just think it’s a great program,” said David, 41, a resident of San Marcos. “This is just an outstanding school, and I’m looking forward to heading up the football program here. So far, I’ve been really impressed with the players I’ve met already and the commitment they’ve shown to the football program and to improving.”
Coach David has high hopes.
“By the end of next year,” he said, “I’m sure we’ll see the payoff for the commitment they’ve put in.”
David replaces Derek McIntyre, who Tarantino said left the school to pursue other opportunities. David will also assume responsibilities as the Knights’ associate athletic director, working with Tarantino to manage the rest of the school’s boys and girls sports programs.
It’s a role David is familiar with, as he served as the associate athletic director for 10 years at Marian Catholic and for two years at San Ysidro.
David isn’t the kind of coach who will do anything too fancy as far as his game plan. He said he will continue to run the Wing-T offense, but he likes to throw frequently out of the formation. Defensively, he will run a base 5-2 scheme and adjust out of that depending on each opponent’s offensive looks.
“The good thing about the Wing-T and the 5-2 is that you can sort of tailor them to the individual talents you have without completely changing what you do every single year,” David said. “So you’re not completely altering your offense if you have a really good quarterback or a great running back one year.”
Perhaps more important for David is his overall coaching philosophy. His emphasis is less on the results - the wins and losses on the field on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons - than it is on the process of achieving them.
“We don’t give fire-up speeches on Friday nights,” he said. “For us, it starts on Monday. I look at myself as a teacher. I try to give them what they need to succeed and to get ready for games on Friday night.”
It’s an approach that Tarantino seems to like. And he’s certain he has found the right man for the right job.
“His reputation is outstanding,” Tarantino said. “When you’ve worked with him, you see that he’s really a kind, soothing type of guy. He’s very calm and a good teacher. We really felt that he’s done it. He understands what it takes to be successful.”