Pat Blackburn already has made an impact as Alemany High's new football coach, luring two coaches from Notre Dame and a running back from Montclair Prep to the Mission Hills school.
Jon Mack and Rob DiMuro have left head coaching positions at Notre Dame to join Blackburn's staff, and running back Tyler Robuck will transfer to Alemany for his senior season. Robuck, whose family has moved to clear the way for the transfer, rushed for 464 yards in 95 carries (4.9 average) and scored 7 touchdowns for Montclair Prep, where Blackburn coached last season. Blackburn was hired for the Alemany job March 9 after coaching Montclair Prep to a 12-9 record in two seasons.
Mack has compiled a 41-11-1 record in the past seven years as Notre Dame's track coach. His resignation is effective at the end of the season and he will teach at Alemany in the fall. Mack, who also coached in the Notre Dame football program for seven years, joins Blackburn's staff as offensive line coach.
Alemany track Coach Randy Smith announced his resignation effective at the end of the season and the school is searching for a replacement. Mack said he might work as an assistant but is not a candidate for the head coaching job.
DiMuro was the Notre Dame girls' basketball coach for two years and assisted the football program for three as a walk-on coach. DiMuro will join Alemany as head coach of the freshman team as a walk-on.
Notre Dame will replace Mack with Joe McNab, the girls' track coach for the past seven years and an assistant football coach. No replacement for DiMuro has been named, according to Kevin Rooney, the school's football coach and athletic director.
Blackburn also hired former Montclair Prep assistants Sam Avoian and Chuck Bradford as defensive coaches, and former Chaminade assistant Bill Meyers as a quarterback coach. He also retained Dennis Henderson and Jim Ozella, assistants under Enrique Lopez, who was fired in January after four seasons.
Blackburn praised the new assistants and credited Father Michael Nocita, the school's principal, for allowing him to aggressively pursue coaches of his choice.
"This is one of the best staffs in the Valley," Blackburn said. "Father Nocita has made it clear he wants a winner and let me go out and get who I needed."
Mack and DiMuro, both Notre Dame graduates, said the decision to leave their alma mater was difficult, but Alemany's aggressive pursuit convinced them to move.
"I'm sick about leaving Notre Dame," Mack said. "When I told the team, there were tears shed. This is home.
"But Father Mike wants to make Alemany the best high school in the San Fernando Valley and I love that challenge."
Alemany and Notre Dame no longer will be Del Rey League rivals next fall when Notre Dame moves to the newly formed San Fernando Valley League. The Del Rey League plays at the Southern Section's top level in football and the San Fernando Valley league will be grouped lower. Notre Dame, which opens the '88 season with a nonleague game against Alemany, also dropped longtime rival Crespi from its schedule.
Mack and DiMuro denied that the change of leagues affected their decisions to leave Notre Dame.
"I was disappointed, but after the uproar I was going to stay," DiMuro said. "The 5-A thing was not a factor. It was more that Alemany seemed to want me to be there."