It’s been 10 years since Mark Songy coached football.
In two short days, that all changed and he is returning to the sideline.
Songy was named head coach at Jesuit on Wednesday, just two days after Wayde Keiser suddenly retired.
“It was very fast,” said Songy, who coached the Blue Jays from 1992-96. “With all the social media we have now that we didn’t have when I was coaching last, it’s been crazy with my phone ringing. I’m just trying to get my mind around it all right now.
It was a big-time shocker for me. I had no idea this was going to come about. I think it was a shocker to most people, but I’m glad we were able to come to this decision.”
Songy replaces Keiser, who had spent the past seven seasons as Blue Jays coach before stepping down Monday for family reasons.
“Thirty years of doing this has taken a toll on my marriage,” Keiser said. “I need to make some changes. I can’t go on at the work pace that I am doing. My marriage is more important to me. We just celebrated our 30th anniversary, and my wife (Leah) and I decided to do this for our marriage.”
Jesuit Athletic Director Dave Moreau didn’t take long to find Keiser’s successor.
“We know the timing of all the events have been far less than perfect, so we feel very fortunate to have him. Mark has a great understanding of the wide array that comes with a head coaching position. I thought that was important. He is familiar with the facets of the Jesuit community and the things that are important to the school.”
Songy will officially begin his duties July 21 at the school he has coached before.
He was an assistant at Jesuit for two seasons (1990-91) before taking over as head coach from 1992-1996. He compiled a 35-27 record and led the team to the playoffs in four of his five seasons. Songy also served as head coach at his alma mater, Brother Martin, from 1997-2001.
He then returned to Jesuit as an offensive line coach for the 2002 and 2003 seasons before leaving coaching to go into pharmaceutical sales.
“Coaching has been in my blood since I was 18-years-old, and I spent about 20 years doing it,” Songy said. “Ten years ago I decided to get into the business world in my family’s best interest, but I always knew I wanted to get back in (coaching). I was doing well in business, but this opportunity came along. A lot of people don’t get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m getting it twice. I’m grateful for that.”
Despite his time in the business world, Songy has stayed connected to football by serving as a commentator for Jesuit football radio and television broadcast. He doesn’t expect his absence from coaching to be a hindrance.
“I’ve stayed very active in the game,” he said. “And I’ve stayed close to Wayde and the staff. Any way you cut it, the game still comes back to the fundamentals.”
Songy said he doesn’t plan to come in and make many wholesale changes. He wants to keep the coaching staff intact. Jesuit finished 6-6 (2-3 in the Catholic League) last season, reaching the quarterfinals of the Division I select playoffs before losing to St. Augustine.
“I’ve been a big fan of that program and coach Keiser’s staff,” Songy said. “I’m a big fan of their work, and really like what they have done on offense, defense and special teams. I don’t think I need to go in and change things. My job is to not go in and mess it up.”