SPRINGFIELD — You might think that after 30-plus years as an assistant coach, John Steinmetz was chomping at the bit to toss his hat in the ring when La Salle High head football coach Drew Gordon stepped down this past February, that his application for consideration for the position was in before the ink on Gordon’s resignation was dry.
The truth is, Steinmetz, the La Salle grad whose only football coaching experience has been under the three Explorers head coaches that preceded him, had no desire to be the program’s head coach until this year.
“When Drew stepped down, I just felt the time was right for me,’ said Steinmetz, who was named the program’s head coach late last week. “It wasn’t something I had ever aspired to do, but it just worked out for me.
“My children were older, I could handle the work load. I just felt this was a good time. I figured I’d take a shot at it.’
Steinmetz, who has spent the last 23 years as the program’s defensive coordinator, said he’ll continue running the defense, and that, “in a week to 10 days’ he should have the assistant coaches he wants in place, including a new offensive coordinator.
“My goal is to try and build on the success that Drew started,’ Steinmetz said. “A lot of our assistants are staying on, and we should have our offensive coordinator soon.’
As for the offense, Steinmetz said his preference is to utilize an offense that he and the Explorers players enjoy, namely, something akin to the offense installed by Gordon.
The kids like that offense and so do I,’ Steinmetz said. “It’s fun to play and it’s fun to watch.’
As for the program La Salle has to catch in the Philadelphia Catholic League, Saint Joseph’s Prep, Steinmetz said the Explorers have a tall order.
“After winning (the PCL and the state title) for the last two years, they’re the team to beat,’ he said. “They have a lot of talent down there, so we have our work cut out for us.’
Since Steinmetz’s new position was made official last week, the coach said he’s gotten “a couple hundred’ notes of congratulations.
And the program, he said, has not taken a stride in the wrong direction.
“We’ve been in the weight room since January,’ Steinmetz said. “The kids have been great, we really haven’t missed a beat.
“The kids have been focused throughout the whole (hiring) process. They’ve continued to work and let the school do what it had to do.’
Steinmetz praised all three former La Salle head coaches he worked under, John “Tex’ Flannery, Joe Colistra and Gordon, and said he’d like to continue the winning tradition.
“It’s been fun for 33, 34 years,’ the new coach said, “and we’d like that fun to continue.’
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