Tommy Brittain won’t have to get used to a new school nickname.
He is leaving the Tempe Prep football program he began to become head coach at Phoenix St. Mary’s.
Both schools are called the Knights.
Brittain, 47, was azcentral sports Small Schools (Division IV-VI) Coach of the Year after the 2014 season when he led Tempe Prep to its first state final appearance. It was the first time a charter school reached the state final in football.
Tempe Prep, which began playing football 15 years ago, only had one losing season since 2004 when it became a full Arizona Interscholastic Association member. He was a founding teacher at Tempe Prep 17 years ago.
This past season, it went 8-4, losing to Eagar Round Valley in the Division V quarterfinals. Brittain, a devout Catholic, led Tempe Prep to the Division V playoff the past five years.
“Coach Brittain’s motto of ‘Hard work works’ will resonate with the St. Mary’s community,” Athletic Director Greg Fahrendorf said in a school release. “At Tempe Prep, he modeled his program after St. Mary’s teams in the ’80s and ’90s, focusing on toughness, discipline and developing men of high character. His respect for St. Mary’s football was also evident in the choosing of the Knights as the school’s mascot and adoption of wearing gold pants during the playoffs.”
Coach Todd Williamson was removed as head football coach for reasons never disclosed just before the start of camp in August and replaced by Marcel Lopez as interim. The Knights went 3-7 in Division II last season, a year after going 7-4 and losing in the first round of the state playoffs.
It was the Knights’ first winning season since going 7-4 in 2006, Pat Farrell’s second-to-last year at the helm in his return to the Knights.
“I am making this change because I have considered the head football coaching position at Saint Mary’s the best job in the world since I was in high school,” Brittain said in an e-mail. “The school’s commitment to authentic Catholic Formation and its unrivaled tradition of gridiron excellence make the position for me an absolute dream come true.
“My years at Tempe Prep have been a great blessing. I am confident that the legacy established there by the hard work of our players and the support of our parents and the dedication of our coaches will reach new heights in the years to come.”
Reach Obert at email@example.com or 602-460-1710. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert.
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