|Title:||Associate Head Coach|
Paul DeStefano brings 40 years of coaching experience to his fourth season at Catholic University. He shares a wisdom and perspective with the Cardinals that few coaches in the country can match.
DeStefano works with the CUA guards and participates in player development, scouting, recruiting and game strategy, and typically delivers the scouting report on game days. His coaching helped Kevin Phanord be named 2015 Landmark Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Point guard Bryson Fonville was honored as the league’s top player and a third-team All-American.
DeStefano came to his alma mater as associate head coach in 2012 after leading the basketball program at nearby St. John’s College High School for 16 years. He coached on the prep level for 37 seasons and is well-respected in local high school basketball circles. 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 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference – one of the nation’s toughest –– 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 / NBA D-League All-Star); Vlad Moldoveanu (American / Polish pro / Romanian National Team); Dwayne Anderson (Villanova / two-time German All-Star / Penn State assistant); and Julian DeBose (Florida Gulf Coast / Gold Medal, 2015 World University Games).
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, played for his father at St. John’s, 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 works as a lawyer in Washington, D.C.