Gonzaga Prep went with one of its own.
Bullpups graduate and longtime football assistant Dave McKenna was named this week to replace Dave Carson, who resigned after 10 years at the helm. McKenna is the fifth Gonzaga head coach over the last 80 years.
“I’m very excited. It’s a dream come true,” said McKenna, who graduated from G-Prep in 1988. “In 1990, when I came back to volunteer coach, I fell in love with it and ever since then it’s been a passion.”
McKenna spent three years as backup quarterback for Bullpups teams that made three state finals appearances, winning once.
While still in college, he became a volunteer freshman team assistant at his alma mater, moved to the varsity as a defensive line coach for Don Anderson and spent the past decade as Carson’s defensive coordinator.
He attended the University of Portland and graduated from Gonzaga University. At G-Prep he teaches biology and geometry, works in campus ministry and also coordinates the Catholic grade-school athletic leagues.
“He understands our mission,” said activities coordinator Paul Manfred. “He understands the overall Ignatian experience, what we want kids to have (in all facets of life) and he has a great understanding of the game of football.”
McKenna said his greatest gift is that of motivator and said his role in leading student spiritual retreats and building relationships will help him immensely as head coach.
He said he didn’t envision much strategic change, having learned and immersed himself in football at the school. He will maintain and add to existing staff.
“It’s a great opportunity for me and I hope to continue the tradition of success,” he said. “We have incredible kids. This is a team effort here and a special, special place to be.”