Sean Sandora, who turned Dundalk's football program around and took the Owls to the Class 3A state final in 2015, has been named the Archbishop Curley coach.
The Owls made the program's first appearance in a state football championship game under Sandora, The Baltimore Sun's 2015 All-Metro Coach of the Year. In one year, he turned a .500 team into a 12-2 team, with a school record for wins.
While Sandora said it was heartbreaking to tell his young team Friday afternoon that he was leaving, he said opportunities to coach in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association don't come around that often.
"I just wanted the opportunity to compete at the MIAA level and it opened up some doors for me and it's a good position to be in with my two young children. I'm going to teach there, too," said Sandora, who will teach science.
Sandora follows Sean Murphy, who stepped down after 21 years as Friars coach earlier this year.
Although the Friars finished 5-5 and in third place this fall, they were perennial B Conference contenders under Murphy. They won the title in 2014 and 2004, and tied for it in 2003. When the conference was divided in half, they won the Gold Division in 2000 and 2001.
"I'm excited for the direction Coach Murphy left the program in," Sandora said. "He had some good quality kids in the building who want to compete and want to do things for the betterment of themselves and their family. I like the vision the athletic director has for the program, and the administration at Curley, and to work with those guys was very appealing to me."
Sandora spent seven years at Dundalk, five as head coach. He also spent time as a graduate assistant at Salisbury and defensive coordinator at Mount Hebron. After an 8-3 season last fall, he leaves Dundalk with a 40-19 record.
He sees a lot of similarities between the two programs.
"It's a good blue-collar area with a bunch of good blue-collar kids similar to what I had a Dundalk," he said, "and it's just another challenge for me to coach at the MIAA level and to coach against some of those schools. It'll be fun."