DANA POINT — Dana Hills High School has announced the hiring of its new football coach.
And he comes with plenty of head coaching experience.
Dolphins athletic director Tom Faris announced late Monday night that Tony Henney will take over for the program.
Henney spent last year as a volunteer defensive assistant coach with Division I FCS Cal Poly but for 12 seasons was a head coach for Nordoff, Westlake and Trabuco Hills high school, where he has compiled a 92-50 overall record and was named CIF-Southern Section division coach of the year three times.
“It was his coaching experience and his success as a head coach that were the main reasons we chose him,” Faris said. “We had about 14 or 15 applicants that we interviewed and more people who applied. It’s never easy going through the process of hiring a head coach.”
He replaces Phil Skinner, who decided to step down in late April to spend more time with his family.
“It was exactly what I was looking for, coming back to high school football,” Henney said. “Everything about Dana Hills is exciting to me, from the location to the football competition down there to the school itself. This job checked every box for me.”
Dana Hills has a new Head Football Coach. We are excited to introduce Tony Henney as our new coach. pic.twitter.com/p8zFpss0Sn
— Dana Hills Athletics (@dhhs_athletics) May 25, 2021
While Henney spent a year and a half as a defensive coach at Cal Poly, he said he is really an offensive-minded coach.
“They just stuck me in the room to challenge every defensive idea,” Henney joked.
The Dolphins return many key offensive weapons, including juniors quarterback Bo Kelly and receiver Omar Black.
“I try to be balanced but that doesn’t mean balanced in every game,” Henney said. “We try to be uptempo. We try to stretch the field horizontally and vertically. We try to be physical and try to have fun.”
Dana Hills finished last season in a three-way tie for first place in the Pacific Hills League but Henney acknowledged that there is fierce competition all over the area.
“We know we have to have some patience but, at the same time, we have to get going right away,” Henney said. “I’m just fired up for the challenge. I think this program is a sleeping giant, but we have to do it the right way and there is going to be a process to it.”
The Dolphins haven’t had the best of seasons over the 16 years, winning just 62 games and two league championships. A move from the South Coast League back to the Pacific Hills League didn’t help either.
“We want to make Dana Hills football into a neighborhood team,” Henney said. “We want the kids who live in Dana Point to stand at the fence and want to put that helmet on and be Dolphins some day.
“Creating an atmosphere like that, where Dana Hills is a viable option for high school football, is important and I think I offer a lot, making the game fun, having college connections and working hard for the kids. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Henney has not met with any players yet but plans to this week. He also said no decisions have been made regarding his staff.
“I’m excited to meet him,” Kelly said. “It sounds like he has a winning background and ready to get started.”