Jeff McDaniel, a physical education teacher at Costa Mesa High, has been named coach of the Mustang boys' basketball team.
McDaniel, 25, played basketball at Concordia University in Irvine from 2001 through 2004.
He was a graduate assistant on the Concordia men's team the following year, then an assistant coach for the Temecula Valley High boys' basketball team last season.
McDaniel takes over for Ryan Schachter, who left the Costa Mesa boys' program after two seasons in June to take over as boys' coach at Corona del Mar High.
"I just met with the players for the first time [Wednesday]," said McDaniel, who lives in Irvine. "I'm excited to get an opportunity at such a young age to take over a program that was being built up by Coach Schachter, and even Coach [Bob] Serven before him."
He said he was a bit surprised to be hired due to his relatively young age, but that wasn't his primary reaction.
"I was more excited than surprised," McDaniel said. "I don't have a resume as far as head-coaching experience, but I think the credentials of the other coaches I've been around helped out a lot."
McDaniel said he knew from a young age that he wanted to be a coach. He said his coaching influences include Rico Thompson of Temecula Valley, Ken Ammann of Concordia and Rick Croy of Citrus College.
"I've been around sports my whole life, and basketball's the one I love the most," McDaniel said.
As a role player at Concordia, McDaniel, a guard, was part of an Eagles team that won the NAIA Division I championship in the 2002-03 season.
Schachter was an assistant coach at Concordia in 2002-03.
"It was awesome to win that [national championship]," McDaniel said. "We're all still best friends. I think I'd like to help other people experience winning like that through coaching."
Last season, Costa Mesa went 17-10 and won a share of the Golden West League crown. The Mustangs lost to El Segundo, 53-41, in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division III-A playoffs.
The Mustangs are in the newly formed Orange Coast League this year, which also includes Estancia, Calvary Chapel and Laguna Beach.
McDaniel said he'd generally like for Costa Mesa to play an up-tempo game on both ends of the court, pushing the ball on offense and playing pressure defense.
"It depends on what type of team you have, especially at the high school level, since you can't recruit," McDaniel said. "But our goal is definitely to win league and go as far as we can in CIF."