Dave Hart is happy he's not walking into a new situation, as he takes over the football program at the Covenant School.
"I think it's one of the big hurdles that new coaches typically have to deal with," Hart said Wednesday afternoon. "Learning a new set of guys. Getting to know their personalities, and relationships with them. But I've known these guys since they were freshmen, at least the senior class."
Covenant announced Hart' as the school's new football coach Wednesday morning on Twitter. Hart has been part of the Covenant varsity program since 2010, including serving as defensive coordinator for Dave Rocco the past three seasons.
"Dave has been here for a while, and he understands the school, and the culture of the school," said Covenant athletic director Brooks Berry. "He knows the families, and the players, and the kids. And he's a fantastic coach."
This is Hart's first head coaching job.
"It's awesome and scary at the same time," he said. "A lot of responsibility. A lot of differences from a coordinator position. But I'm excited for the challenge. I'm looking forward to it. I learned a lot from Coach Rocco, so I'll take a lot from what he's taught me. I'll continue to use that, but also add a few things, and grow."
"Not having a coach in place, sort of the ship without a rudder," said Berry. "So now that Dave's here, he can provide leadership and get the guys moving. Get them in the weight room, plan the off-season program. So it gives us guidance and structure and stability as we go forward."
Rocco spent the past three seasons as coach of the Eagles, highlighted by the program's first-ever win against cross-town rival St. Anne's-Belfield in 2012.
The Eagles finished 3-7 in 2013. But Hart talked Wednesday about the class of rising seniors who will be back next fall -- and who are already at work in the weight room with their new coach.
"Good group of guys in winter workouts right now, working hard, getting ready for the season," he said. "Our motto for this season is "Iron Eagle." So just emphasizing the importance of the weight room, and got a lot of guys buying into that right now. So definitely excited, and ready to get going."