Joe Chango spent last fall as offensive coordinator at Jesuit High School, leading one of the state’s most prolific offenses to the school’s first state title in more than 50 years.
Now Chango will take on a new challenge, taking over a football program making the transition from Class 1A to 2A.
Chango was named head coach at Country Day on Friday.
“I always knew about Country Day and that it was a solid program with a solid football team,” Chango said. “It’s a great academic school with a beautiful campus. I feel real good about what they are trying to do with the program, especially with them moving up to 2A.”
It will be the first head coaching job for the New Jersey native, who spent the past two seasons at Jesuit.
“He has great enthusiasm and great knowledge of the game, particularly offensively,” Country Day Athletic Director Mike McGuire said. “He is going to be a great inspiration to our kids. He has coached at a high level and, with us moving up to 2A, he will be ready for that challenge.”
Country Day, which has been a consistent playoff team in 1A, moves up in classification this fall and will compete in the district with Riverside Academy, St. Charles, Newman, Sophie B. Wright and West St. John.
“Moving up to 2A certainly intrigued me,” Chango said. “I really like where they are going with the program.”
A Tulane graduate, Chango also served as an assistant at De La Salle and St. Charles before going back to New Jersey, where he spent more than a decade as an assistant before coming to Jesuit.
This past season, Chango was in charge of a Jesuit offense that racked up a whopping 5,520 yards. The Blue Jays threw for 2,629 yards and rushed for 2,891 yards on their way to winning their first state title since 1960.
His offensive philosophy is pretty simple.
“I will find a away to get the guys we need to have on the field and a way to get the guys the ball who we need to have the ball,” Chango said. “That’s how it has to be done.”
Chango replaces Richard Wood, who stepped down as football coach in March.
Wood, who has been at Country Day for 16 years in two different stints, will remain as the school’s track coach.
“Coach Wood has done a great job of building the program, winning four district championships,” McGuire said. “He always had Country Day in contention.”
Country Day finished 7-4 this past season and finished in a three-way tie for the district championship. The Cajuns reached the first round of the Division IV playoffs.
Chango said he is prepared for the transition of going from a large school like Jesuit to Country Day.
“I played at a small program in New Jersey, so I’m used to that,” Chango said. “We had a lot of small schools in New Jersey, so I know what it’s like. I’m sure it will be a transition, because you don’t have 90 kids and injuries become more of an issue. But I know exactly what I’m walking into, and I’m comfortable with the situation.”