NEWTOWN – Former Upper Moreland offensive coordinator Matt McHugh has been named the new head coach of the Council Rock North football program.
Pending School Board approval next month, McHugh replaces former head coach Adam Collachi, who stepped down after leading the Indians last fall to their first Suburban One League (SOL) title since 2006.
McHugh comes to Council Rock North with an offensive mindset. In addition to directing a Golden Bears’ offense that averaged over 28 points-per-game last season at Upper Moreland, he was a quarterback both in college at Ursinus and in high school at Garnet Valley.
Last season, the coach helped the Bears to a 10-3 record, a mark that included District 1 Class AAA playoff wins over Pottstown and Marple Newtown.
Before guiding the offense the last three years at Upper Moreland, McHugh spent a season (2012) coaching the quarterbacks at Lower Merion. Before that, he worked as a wide receivers coach at Ursinus (2011).
In 2010, his senior year in college, McHugh helped the Ursinus Bears win the Centennial Conference Championship.
As a senior quarterback and captain at Garnet Valley, he helped the Jaguars claim the District 1-AAA championship in 2006, passing for 1,577 yards and rushing for 619. At season’s end, McHugh garnered all-state, all-county and all-league honors.
During his time at Garnet Valley, McHugh also earned awards for his academic and leadership accomplishments including the Marine’s Leadership Award and the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete award.
McHugh still hold school records for the Jags in passing attempts in a season (179), completions in a season (100), season passing yards and yards passing in a single game – 264 in a 2006 win over Kennett.
However, it wasn’t that game that lifted McHugh to folk hero status at Garnet Valley but rather for leading the Jags to a 17-14 win over Upper Moreland in the 2006 district championship. With his team trailing the Golden Bears 14-10 late in the third quarter, McHugh pounced on a fumble on a fumble at the UM seven.
The move proved costly however as McHugh sustained a vicious hit, twisting his ankle. When GV head coach Mike Ricci asked McHugh about coming off the field he lied and said he was OK. On the next play, McHugh found a seam and ran through it for what proved to be the winning score.
“There was no way I was coming off that field,” McHugh is quoted as saying in a November 2006 article written by Joe Santoliquito for the West Chester Daily Local News. “I was hurting. But I could have broken my leg and there was no way I wasn’t coming off that field. I just didn’t let anyone know I was that hurt.”
The article also states that after McHugh went in for the winning TD, he collapsed on the sideline.
After graduating from GV, McHugh earned his Bachelor’s degree in exercise science at Ursinus, where he was a 4-year varsity letter-winner at quarterback.
With that kind of knowledge, McHugh has a solid background in strength and conditioning. According to the Upper Moreland football website, the Golden Bears received an offseason speed and strength program similar to most Division 1 colleges.
The site also says that “Matt has a dire work ethic to make the Upper Moreland Football Program a strong contender in the SOL and District 1. His passion for the game is extremely contagious!”
What McHugh really enjoys is working with quarterbacks. Along with the offense as a whole, it’s a position he takes incredible pride in coaching, the site says.
Additionally, McHugh employs an option-type offense, similar to that directed by Vince Bedesem at sister school CR South. That should make the annual skirmish with the Golden Hawks a little more interesting.
Last year, just when it looked like Quakertown might capture the SOL Continental crown, the Indians tagged the Panthers with their first loss in week nine then CB East stunned Q-town the following Friday, opening the door and creating a log jam at the top of the conference.
Of course, Gatorade All-State Football Player of the Year Brandon McIlwain resolved that issue on Saturday night in week 10 with four touchdowns rushing and another passing in an eventual 35-14 triumph over CR South.
McIlwain has already begun his studies at South Carolina, however, so McHugh will have to find another quarterback to develop. You get the feeling it’s a job that the former Upper Moreland coach can’t wait to tackle.
Matt McHugh (profile)
-Garnet Valley High School (2003–2007)
-Ursinus College (2007-2011)
-Upper Moreland High School (2013-2015) – Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator
-Lower Merion High School (2012) – Passing Coordinator/Quarterbacks
-Ursinus College (2011) – Assistant Coach/Wide Receivers
Contact Steve Sherman at ssherman@21st-Centurymedia.com or @BucksLocalSport on Twitter