MOUNT VERNON — After weeks of juggling the numbers, Mount Vernon High School officially has a new football coach.
The school board approved the hiring of Anthony Naples to the position at Monday’s board meeting.
“I’m really excited,” Naples told the News. “Mount Vernon is a great, hard-nosed community where people work hard. This is a great opportunity.”
Naples takes over a program that went 6-4 last season under Gary Keller, who stepped aside a few weeks after the final game for personal reasons. Naples sees a lot of potential as the team moves on.
“This is a one-team city,” Naples said. “There are a lot of things I think we can do with this program.”
Naples plans to spend more time in the community in the coming weeks, talking with students and teachers and establishing his agenda.
“What players do on the field refects, in a large part, who they become in real life,” Naples said. “I want to develop these kids on how they act and what they do, both on the field and off. I want to develop young people doing the right things outside the school.”
Naples was most recently the athletic director at Madison-Plains schools. He said the experience he gained has given him a different perspective on coaching.
“As an A.D., I develop coaches as well,” Naples said. “Anyone (at Madison-Plains) can tell you, I spent a lot of time on the field, talking with coaches and helping to develop players.”
Prior to that, Naples was head coach at Columbus Westland before accepting a position as an assistant coach at Lock Haven University. While at Lock Haven, he coached under John Klacik, for whom he also played while the two were at Youngstown State.
“Coach Klacik taught me a lot about developing players,” Naples recalled. “He reminded me that everyone is different, that you have to develop different relationships in order to relate to different people.”