|Title:||Associate Head Coach|
When Steve Howes brought Paul DeStefano on staff last season, he was counting on the wisdom and experience DeStefano gained from his 37-year high school coaching career to pay big dividends for the Cardinals. He was right.
DeStefano enters his second season as associate head coach at his alma mater after leading the basketball program for 16 years at St. John’s College High School. He works with the CUA guards and participates in player development, scouting, recruiting and game strategy. He typically delivers the scouting report on game days.
DeStefano is well-respected on the local high school basketball scene. His head coaching career brought him to St. Vincent Pallotti (1974-79), Mackin Catholic (1979-84), Bishop Ireton (1985-90), Seneca Valley (1990-94), Georgetown Prep (1994-96) and St. John’s (1996-2012). Two of his players at Mackin played in the NBA: Dominic Pressley (Boston College / Washington Bullets / Chicago Bulls) and Johnny Dawkins (Duke / San Antonio Spurs / Philadelphia 76ers). Dawkins is now head coach at Stanford.
During his tenure at St. John’s, which competes in the one of the nation’s most competitive high school leagues – the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference – DeStefano led the Cadets to the 2000 WCAC championship and was named Coach of the Year. St. John’s entered as the seventh seed and proceeded to win at No. 3 Carroll and beat No. 2 Paul VI before downing top-seeded DeMatha on a buzzer beater, 61-59. The title was the Cadets’ first since the legendary Joe Gallagher guided the northwest Washington, D.C., school to the 1977 crown.
DeStefano coached four first-team All-Metropolitans at St. John’s: Chris Wright (Georgetown / Dallas Mavericks / French pro team), Vlad Moldoveanu (American / Estonian pro team), Dwayne Anderson (Villanova / German pro team / Penn State assistant) and Julian DeBose (Florida Gulf Coast). They are among more than 30 of his former players to compete in NCAA Division I. Mackin’s Cecil Rucker played at Notre Dame and then professionally in France.
In 2004, the National Federation of State High School Associations recognized DeStefano as its Washington, D.C., Coach of the Year. He was also a finalist for national Coach of the Year honors.
While at Bishop Ireton in Alexandria, Va., DeStefano led the Cardinals to a pair of Virginia Catholic Schools state championships. In 1992 he guided Seneca Valley to a Maryland regional championship and the school’s first appearance in the state semifinals at Cole Field House.
Paul James DeStefano, who teaches geometry at St. John’s, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1952. He graduated from Brooklyn’s Xaverian High School before earning his degree in economics, cum laude, from The Catholic University of America in 1974. He played baseball his first two years at CUA under former coach and athletic director Bob Talbot.
DeStefano comes from a family of basketball coaches. His late brother, Al, was head coach at Kennedy High School in Silver Spring, Md., and his brother, James, is a former Gallaudet head coach who now coaches at the Maryland School for the Deaf in Frederick, Md.
DeStefano and his wife, Chris, live in Silver Spring. Their son, Brian, was a manager at Duke and is now associate head coach at Harvard. Their daughter, Katherine, was a manager for the Georgetown women’s team and graduated from Fordham’s law school.