For the first time in almost two decades, there's a new face leading the Orange County football team in fall camp. Keita Malloy is the new head coach of the Hornets, after John Kayajanian spent 18 years as the program's leader.
"I've spent the majority of my life in the football field, so I bring a great deal of excitement to the game," Malloy said on the first day of practice Monday. "For me it's always fun to be out here and be with the kids."
Malloy is hoping to bring a new energy to a Hornets team that has won only two games in the last two years.
"He's vocal," says junior quarterback Garret Johnson. "When you hear Coach Malloy talk you're like, 'oh, I've got to do what I've got to do.' We respect all the coaches but he's just got that one, that voice about him. He's got that swagger really."
Malloy has been a college coach since 2000, and spent the last five years on Bobby Wilder's staff at Old Dominion before getting fired as secondary coach and assistant defensive coordinator last year.
The Hornets will be Malloy's first head coaching experience, and one of his first tasks is to change the mindset throughout the program.
"Anytime you come from a situation where we were, you know you win two games in two years, you have to change the culture," he said. "It doesn't happen overnight, you know, it's a mindset."
In order to change that mindset, Malloy has employed a little tough love early on when working with the Hornets, especially in conditioning.
"He's a great person and he's going to work us til, well probably until we can't walk," said senior lineman Ben Hargett. "That's exactly what we need. We need that tempo."
"He pushes us," added Johnson. "I like a coach who pushes us. I don't like a coach who makes it easy, and he definitely hasn't done that. He's worked us. He'll do anything in our power to help us win."