Every football assistant coach dreams of one day taking over his own program. Keita Malloy is no different.
Malloy served as an assistant coach at the college level for over a decade before the opportunity finally presented itself.
Orange County was looking for a head coach for the first time in almost 20 years. Malloy was looking for his big break.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Malloy officially became the newest Orange County head coach last month and has been working with the team since, trying to reshape a program that's won just two games total since jumping to the AAA Commonwealth District two seasons ago.
While some coaches might shy away from such a challenge, Malloy wouldn't have it any other way.
"I think you want it that way," he explained. "If you're a true competitor, you definitely want to find the biggest challenges possible. To walk into a job where someone's 10-0, 11-0, I don't think it gives you the satisfaction."
A misconception some may have about the Hornets is that the talent level isn't on par with the other teams in the area. Malloy wondered himself -- at first.
"To be honest with you I probably came in a little skeptical. You win one game in a year, and then one game the next year, (but) I was really pleasantly surprised with the amount of talent we have. I really feel like we could make some noise."
That's welcome news for a team looking for an infusion of energy, energy Malloy has in spades.
The rookie head coach was as animated as any in central Virginia Wednesday during a team workout. Just par for the course, according to Malloy.
"I'm fired up now and I'm very enthusiastic," Malloy said with a smile. "I'm not a low-key coach, if you will. I'm intense. I'm intense, because it's important to me and I want it to be important to the kids because it's always about the kids."
Senior linebacker Dominique Deberry had a better way of describing his coach's demeanor.
"He reminds me of Lawrence Taylor because he brings so much excitement," Deberry added with a laugh. "Just seeing him out here and he's yelling, he's really excited. You can tell he loves the game."
That love for the game as carried Malloy to stints at Fordham University (N.Y.), Trinity College (Conn.), Lafayette College (Pa.), West Georgia State and Washburn University (Kan.).
Most recently, he was assistant defensive coordinator at Old Dominion. Malloy's lengthy college coaching resume gives him a voice of experience and the players say they're hanging on every word,
"Someone from that level knows what they're talking about so you can trust him," junior quarterback Garret Johnson explained. "You know he's been there, you know he's been around the crowds. He's seen the people that have worked there and it's good to learn from someone who's been there."
"It's pretty good because it's very rare you get someone who's been at that higher level of coaching and scouting," Deberry added. "And to come down to a little high school like Orange County, it's a blessing."
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