The Burroughs High administration chose to keep it in the family with the hiring of the school’s new football coach.
Burroughs Principal Deborah Madrigal said Tuesday that longtime assistant and Burroughs graduate Mike Reily has been selected as the program’s new coach. Reily takes over the program from Keith Knoop, who stepped down in December after leading the Indians for 19 years.
For 14 of those 19 years, Reily, 39, had been an assistant under Knoop, the last four serving as associate head coach. Reily said he considers Knoop not only a mentor, but a friend, and is humbled to be taking over the reins at his alma mater.
“What Keith has built here at Burroughs and all the hard work and years he’s put in, I just want to try and continue that and really keep going what he’s developed,” Reily said. “Since I’ve been around the program and been with Keith for 14 years, I’m hoping that this will be a smooth transition and that we won’t miss a beat.
“Hopefully we can keep the majority of the coaching staff intact and we can motivate the kids to go out there, give it their best and rock and roll.”
Reily, who served as offensive line coach, was an integral part of the Burroughs staff that guided the program to one of most successful campaigns in recent years this past season. The Indians notched a 7-0 Pacific League record and earned their first league title since 2012. The Indians ended the season with a 10-2 record, falling to St. Francis, 21-7, in the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division quarterfinals. Knoop also notched his 100th career win during the 2015 campaign.
“Seriously, we would have been nowhere without him,” Knoop said of Reily. “He has been a mainstay with our offensive live for years and the last four or five years with coordinating the offense with me and behind the scenes being an assistant head coach for me for four years. As far as I’m concerned, he’s so smart and the kids love him so much, he should be a Division I coach somewhere.
“I really can’t see anybody else who could do what he can do as the head coach at Burroughs. Burroughs has kind of been my baby for the last few years, so I feel more than comfortable having Mike take over the program. ...With him at the helm things will be well taken care of.”
Reily, who was a lineman at Burroughs who graduated in 1994, went on to play at UNLV. He has been instrumental in helping Burroughs develop a tradition of talented offensive linemen for almost a decade and a half.
Reily's most successful disciple is Eben Britton. Britton was an All-CIF Southern Section pick and Leader Male Athlete of the Year in 2005 who earned a scholarship to the University of Arizona. He was taken 39th in the 2009 NFL Draft and played in the NFL for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears.
Those formidable offensive lines helped pave the way for a successful slew of Burroughs running backs. This past season, junior Chance Bell, who was the Pacific League Player of the Year and an All-CIF selection, scored 23 touchdowns, carrying the ball 178 times for 1,378 yards.
Reily, who had four different coaches in his four seasons playing at Burroughs, hopes to keep some stability within the program.
“Early in my career, being a head football coach is something that was definitely a goal for me,” said Reily, who teaches economics at Burroughs. “But it was certainly nothing that I was seeking out or searching out for. I was happy coaching the O-line and that’s where my passion lies. I was perfectly content at being a position coach and coaching my guys and helping Keith.
“But when Keith stepped down, it kind of reignited the idea and the thought process of being a head coach for me. Just the support staff around here, the other coaches and the kids, it’s just amazing. It was a great opportunity, so I decided to give it a shot and see how it goes.”
Madrigal said Reily was chosen among a list of applicants, but was the school’s clear choice.
“We are just excited about having him as our new football coach,” she said. “He has proven himself in the classroom as well as on the football field and he’s a great guy. We expect him to carry on the winning tradition that Burroughs has established.”
On the interview committee for the new coach was Bell and junior teammates Tommy Howe and Jesse Chamberlain.
“Coach Reily was really the unanimous choice among us players, not because he was one of our coaches, but because he really came in prepared, he has a lot of experience and he was the most qualified for the job,” Bell said. “He was the best fit for the job.
“The great thing about him taking over as coach is that we have an idea of what to expect from him and how he’s going to do things. We really have a lot of confidence in him and what he can do for the team. ...I’m really excited about him being the coach because along with his knowledge of football, he’s just a great guy, on and off the field.”
Jeff Tully, firstname.lastname@example.org