Traditional York-Adams football power has new head coach
You can forgive Brad Hayek if he feels a little anxiety about his professional life right now.
A longtime teacher and football assistant coach at York Catholic High School, Hayek is in the midst of two sea changes in terms of his careers.
One he was well aware of, but the other came somewhat unexpectedly.
Not long after a succession plan was put in place for the 48-year-old to take over the YC athletic director position from legendary girls’ basketball coach Kevin Bankos, Hayek found out last week that Eric Depew was stepping down as the Fighting Irish head football coach.
Depew has led the Irish football program for the past 10 years, winning three District 3 Class 2-A titles. According to a news release from the school, Depew is leaving the Irish to pursue another head coaching position elsewhere.
Not wanting to lose too much time in the midst of summer football, the school quickly looked to replace Depew, who leaves with an 83-40 overall record.
The conversation came down to a choice between defensive coordinator Hayek and offensive coordinator Matt Sentz.
“Matt and I have been here for a long time,” Hayek said. “But it kind of came down to me being in the school and the athletic director and knowing the system and the stuff behind the scenes, made the (choice) pretty simple. And Matt felt this was the best choice to go with as well.”
Inheriting a strong program: Hayek, who has been on the YC staff since 2005, will inherit a program that has been a major force in York-Adams Division III over the past decade. The Irish won four D-III titles under Depew, in addition to making the PIAA state playoffs three times.
York Catholic was 11-1 last season, including a 35-8 win over Upper Dauphin in the District 3 Class 2-A title game.
“We lost some key players from last year’s team,” Hayek said. “But we have two-thirds of the offense and defense coming back and we have a big senior group that will be back. They’ve all had experience.”
Two of the key returners for YC should be quarterback Levan McFadden and reigning York-Adams Division III Defensive Player of the Year Nick Creisher.
McFadden passed for 979 yards and rushed for 682 yards last season, accounting for 26 total touchdowns.
Creisher, an undersized 5-foot, 5-inch, 145-pound middle linebacker, had 113 total tackles.
No big changes envisioned: In terms of how the program operates, Hayek doesn’t envision much changing with his transition to head coach.
“I think that everything is set in place the way we want it and the way we planned it,” he said. “The biggest change will just be that it’s a different person in charge. All of the staff is coming back, so there will be no big changes.”
Many of the players in the YC program certainly were initially shocked to hear of Depew’s departure.
Still, Hayek said the support for his hiring has been pretty universal.
“Eric was our head coach and our leader, but this was all a group effort,” Hayek said. “And we’re not going to change anything. We’re going to have the same goals, like we had in the past.”
Other local openings: Depew’s resignation comes a few weeks after the Red Land football head coaching position opened up.
Before arriving at York Catholic, Depew was the Red Land defensive coordinator under Frank Gay, who resigned as the Patriots’ head coach last month.
Hayek would not identify the program that Depew is taking over, saying he would allow the former YC head coach to break that news himself.
With Hayek’s promotion, Northeastern is the only school in the Y-A League without a head coach. The Bobcats need a replacement after longtime coach Jon Scepanski accepted the same position at Conestoga Valley. The Bobcats do have a candidate up for approval before the next board meeting on Monday, June 20.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com or on Twitter at @ydsports.