|Title:||Associate Head Coach|
After 36 successful years coaching in high school, Paul DeStefano embarks on a new chapter in his career – associate head coach at Catholic University, his alma mater. The knowledge and experience he brings to the Cardinals will pay multiple dividends.
DeStefano has coached locally at 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 went on to play in the NBA: Dominic Pressley (Boston College, Washington Bullets and Chicago Bulls) and Johnny Dawkins (Duke, San Antonio Spurs and Philadelphia 76ers). Dawkins is now head coach at Stanford University.
During his 16 years at St. John’s, which competes in the one of the nation’s finest 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 / Turkish professional league), Vlad Moldoveanu (American / French pro), Julian DeBose (Rice) and Dwayne Anderson (Villanova / German pro). He has mentored more than 30 players who have played at the NCAA Division I level. 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.
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 University 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 an assistant coach at Harvard University. Their daughter, Katherine, was a manager for the Georgetown women’s team and is currently a third-year law student at Fordham University.