Montgomery High school football coaching staff takes shape
Montgomery High School’s new football coach means business.
Tony Keefer, a celebrated quarterback at Cardinal Newman High School and two-time All-American at Santa Rosa Junior College, has put together an expert coaching staff to help lead the Vikings back to their former glory.
After being hired in January, Keefer began making calls to men he’d played for or coached with to entice them to get on board.
The results are impressive: a former NFL player, an ex-Pac-10 lineman and a handful of former head coaches in high school or junior college in both Marin County and Sonoma County. Several names will be familiar to those who’ve followed prep sports in the area.
“I surrounded myself with the guys I wanted, who I know are very capable and have done things the right way,” Keefer said.
This is Keefer’s third head coaching gig, after turning Tamalpais’ program around in 2007 and 2008 and leading the school to the playoffs for the first time since 1994. He had a one-year stint at Santa Rosa High in 2009 before taking time off with his young family.
Among the stellar football minds Keefer brought in are Keith Simons, who was the Santa Rosa JC head football coach for 17 seasons and more recently the offensive coordinator at Analy under Dan Bourdon, who stepped down this year after leading the Tigers to five consecutive Sonoma County League titles.
Simons coached Keefer when the latter was a year removed from Cardinal Newman and became the Bear Cubs’ starting quarterback.
Under Simons, Keefer set school records in single-season pass attempts (466), career completions (432), career pass attempts (806) and total offense (5,310 yards).
“He had a bunch of different options, being the best offensive mind around here,” Keefer said of his mentor. “When I played for him we had a really good relationship, so we definitely wanted to bring him on.
“We have a challenge ahead of us, but he’s on board running the offense.”
Next up was Trent Herzog, who served as Casa Grande’s head coach for eight years and as player and assistant coach at the Petaluma school for a decade and a half. Herzog was unexpectedly released from his contract with little explanation.
Herzog will be the Vikings’ defensive coordinator.
“He values a lot of the same things I do,” Keefer said. “Kids need good coaches, good role models, and he’s one of them.”
Keefer said Herzog, who is a private strength and conditioning coach as well, will bring a wealth of knowledge to the staff.
“He’s like me in the way that you always want to learn more. He wants to learn from me and we can learn from him,” he said.
Brad Muster will bring high-level football skills to the Vikings program, which has seen only one winning season in eight years under former coaches Marcelo Bautista and Jason Franci. (In 2013, the team went 10-3 under interim coach Dean Haskins, who is also the school’s athletic director.)
Montgomery won section titles in 1996, 2000 and 2004, but has had only five winning seasons since.
In the past three years, the Vikings were 10-22 overall and 5-16 in the North Bay League — including finishing 0-7 last year.