Familiar face returns to football sidelines at Eastlake High School

SAN DIEGO -- Eastlake High School is home to one of the more successful football programs in the county, but the last couple of years have been a bit of a roller coaster for the Titans.

They've had three different head coaches since 2013 and this season they have another head coach, one who returns with plenty to offer.

In his 14 seasons as head coach, John McFadden led the Titans to eight Mesa League Championships, two Division One titles and never missed the post-season. "It feels like home because it is home," said McFadden. "Again, I'm a Bonita grad but this has been my home since 1997. So for 21 years, head coach since 1999, so you know this is where I belong."

McFadden stepped down as head coach in 2013 due to what he refers to as an "administration issue." Since then, he served as an assistant coach for three years before taking last season off, which is when he realized something was missing.

"I found that the work was really enjoyable and that's what I've missed the most and also the camaraderie with the coaches, camaraderie with the kids," said McFadden. "Just being around the kids keeps you young."

On the same day McFadden accepted a coaching position at Bonita Vista, former Titans head coach Dean Tropp stepped down and McFadden quickly changed directions.

"It was a tough decision because I hate going back on my word but I figured it's kind of like the five second rule of food," McFadden joked. "It was the five minute rule for taking a job."

"Everyone in the beginning was kind of scared because the last time we got a new coach, we went 2-9," said senior team captain josh McCurty. "So to make sure that doesn't happen, I told everyone that to be successful like we were last year, we got to fall in love with what he's doing."

The Titans are the Division One runner up's and McCurty, who had 206 tackles and six sacks last season, says under McFadden's lead, expectations are even higher.

"I'm expecting us to have a big season just like last year and I told everyone that we have a weight on our shoulder," said McCurty. "We have unfinished business and everyone knows that so we're coming out with fire the first game this year."

McFadden's philosophy is simple. He says he wants all his guys to leave his program feeling successful, and given his proven track record, the Titans chances look good.

"We have a lot of really good high school football players that have a good chance to play some college football and that tells me then, I don't see real strong weaknesses," said McFadden. "I think we can coach these kids up and they're going to be really good football players."

The Titans open the season against Torrey Pines at Eastlake August 17.

Kick off is scheduled for 7 p.m.