Mooney hires Danilov to coach

Staff report


The month of June has had a definite astronomical flavor and it’s not done yet.

The Transit of Venus on June 5-6 was a once-in-a-lifetime sight (but not in Northeastern Ohio) and June 20 will be the summer solstice.

In between was the hiring of Brian Danilov as Cardinal Mooney High School’s boys basketball coach.

Danilov, of course, has no bearing on the heavenly bodies, but he does have stratospheric credentials that make the 50-year-old worthy of a high planetary position.

Danilov has had two stints as head coach at Campbell Memorial, the last of which — 2010-11 season — ended with a sixth consecutive district final appearance that equalled Cleveland Villa-Angela St. Joseph’s total.

His Campbell years also include a Division III state championship in 1993.

Hired last Friday following a meeting with Mooney principal John Young and school president Rev. Gerald DeLucia, Danilov’s set some short-term objectives.

“Right now, I’m just trying to meet all the kids and trying to understand how the school operates because it’s a whole new situation,” Danilov said.

“Basketball-wise, I’m looking at trying to work hard to get better every day, individually, and then, collectively, see where it takes us.”

Danilov will continue to teach social studies at Memorial. He replaces Chris Kohl and said that his introduction to the job transpired quickly, starting with signs-ups over the weekend and conditioning on Monday.

Danilov, a 1979 Campbell graduate, first coached at Memorial from 1991-96 before shifting to Ursuline for four years, the first of which resulted in the school’s first Steel Valley Conference title in 23 years.

His second term at Campbell began in 2002-03. Ironically, Danilov’s 2010-11 season at Campbell ended with a Div. III district finals loss to Ursuline.

He was also an assistant at George Junior Republic when the Grove City, Pa., institution beat LeBron James-led Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary at Youngstown State University’s Beeghly Center.

“That was the week he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated and SVSM was No. 4 in the country,” said Danilov, who did not coach this past season.

His link to Mooney was DeLucia.

“We worked together at the St. Lucy’s food bank in Campbell,” Danilov said of his students and players involved in community service projects.

“Then he [DeLucia] went to Mooney last year and this job [boys basketball] opened up and things transpired. Of those interviewed, I was fortunate enough to fill what they were looking for.”

More than 30 boys (grades 9-12) took part in Monday’s first conditioning session, but he expects a few more to join.

“I don’t think I’ve got all the kids, really, because I’m still meeting new ones,” Danilov said. “If anyone is interested in playing, he’d better contract me pretty quickly. I’d like to get three days a week for conditioning.

He also realizes the importance of Mooney’s other athletic programs, especially football.

“I’ve got to work around all different sports,” Danilov said of co-existing or acquiescing. “I’ve never had a problem [adjusting when scheduling conflicts arise] between my players and their other coaches at any school I’ve been at.”

Gone from Mooney’s team are Ryan Farragher and P.J. Quinn, but Doug Caputo is back.

“I’ve been lucky wherever I’ve been to have had great kids and great coaches around me.”

One new Danilov staff member will be Derryck VanCobb, a former Campbell player who played for and coached under Danilov.

“We’ll be reunited,” Danilov said of VanCobb. “I’m still in the process of filling out my staff.”

What made Danilov the right guy?

“They [Danilov and Fr. DeLucia] worked closely together down in Campbell and having those kids do community service was a big deal,” said Young, who was also familiar with Danilov when Young was Liberty’s principal.

“When we’d play them or when I observed him at open gyms, he commanded respect, so there’s no messing around with him. Plus, he’s so well connected with other coaches in the community.”

Incidentally, Danilov did his student teaching at Mooney.

“That’s where he got his start 26 years ago,” said Young, who also likes Mooney’s upcoming crop.

“We had an undefeated freshman team and the JV team did well, so there are good athletes with potential coming up. I think we could give the region teams [Canfield-Struthers-Poland] a run for their money.”

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