Saturday, April 19, 2014 9:03 PM
Published on: Thursday, August 02, 2012
By Brandy L. Simms
A former Montgomery County basketball coach has landed a new gig in the nation’s capital.
Paul DeStefano, a high school coaching fixture in the metropolitan area for nearly four decades, has landed at Catholic University following his dismissal from St. John’s in March.
“I’m excited,” said DeStefano, a Silver Spring resident. “I’m grateful for the opportunity and excited to get going.”
DeStefano has joined Steve Howes’s staff at Catholic as an associate head coach.
“I’m thrilled,” said Howes, a Montgomery County native and Good Counsel graduate. “St. John’s loss is my gain.”
During his tenure as a high school coach in the metropolitan area, DeStefano coached basketball programs in the District, Northern Virginia and Montgomery County.
DeStefano spent 16 years as the Cadet’s head coach and guided the Northwest D.C. program to a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title in 2000. He also held coaching stints in Montgomery County at Seneca Valley and Georgetown Prep.
Along the way, DeStefano has mentored numerous players and coaches including Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins, N.C. State assistant Nima Omidvar and Whitman head coach Chris Lun.
DeStefano coached Dawkins at Mackin High in the 1980’s before the guard went on to play at Duke and the NBA. At St. John’s, DeStefano coached McDonald’s All-American and future Georgetown Hoya guard Chris Wright. He also coached current NBA players Dante Cunningham and Nolan Smith at the D.C. private school.
“He’s a good dude,” said Lyndon DeBellotte, a Montgomery County resident who runs Kids First Basketball Inc. “A real good guy. He put in a system. He had role players. Great guy. A great motivator of young men and a great leader of young men and he knows his X’s and O’s.”
Omidvar, a Damascus High graduate, spent the 2006-2007 campaign under DeStefano’s tutelage at St. John’s.
“I came away knowing that he was one of the best X and O coaches in the D.C. area,” said Omidvar. “He taught me a lot.”
DeStefano coached Lun during his tenure at Seneca Valley. Lun guided Whitman to the Class 4A state title during the 2005-2006 campaign.
DeStefano, 60, comes from a basketball family that has deep roots in Montgomery County. His late brother Al was the head coach at Kennedy in the 1990’s and his nephew Mark has held head coaching stints at Blair and Walter Johnson. Another brother, James, is the head coach at Frederick’s Maryland School for the Deaf and his son, Brian, is an assistant at Harvard. His daughter, Katherine, was once a team manager for the Georgetown women’s basketball program.
After decades of coaching D.C. area high school basketball, DeStefano now looks forward to coaching on the college level.
“I just want to be able to help Steve and help the program,” said DeStefano. “I think I can help the program in a lot of different ways.”
Posted By: Mike Lonergan On: 8/4/2012
Paul is a great coach and pan even better person and I am happy to see him going to Catholic University to help coach at our alma mater.