Gary DeCesare returns to the Catholic League as seven schools hire new high school basketball coachesJoe Henricksenon May 17, 2021 at 2:57 pm

Gary DeCesare, coaching St. Rita, talks strategy during a timeout in the game against Mount Carmel.
Gary DeCesare, coaching St. Rita, talks strategy during a timeout in the game against Mount Carmel. | Sun-Times file photo

De La Salle, Fenwick, Waubonsie Valley, Marist, Conant, Prospect and Lincoln-Way West have made hires.

Gary DeCesare is returning to Chicago and the Catholic League.

The former head coach at St. Rita has been named the new head coach at De La Salle. Tom White retired as coach at De La Salle this spring after 26 years.

DeCesare departed St. Rita in 2019. He was at Miami’s Gulliver Prep this past season and has been coaching for more than three decades.

“For me personally it’s an exciting time,” said DeCesare of being named the head coach at De La Salle. “I feel pretty humbled, to be honest. Tom White built a great foundation at De La Salle. The Catholic League is one of the best Catholic leagues in the entire country. I’m really excited about the opportunity.”

DeCesare’s 10 years as coach at St. Rita included the program’s best-ever run of success and talent. With the likes of Charles Matthews, Vic Law and Dominique Matthews leading the way, DeCesare went 182-110 in his 10 years at St. Rita. His 2014-15 team was his best as the Mustangs finished 26-4 but lost to Simeon in the the sectional championship.

DeCesare’s long coaching résumé includes seven years as a college assistant coach and 17 years as a high school coach in his native Bronx as the head coach at St. Raymond. He won four city championships and two state championships while coaching the New York Catholic powerhouse.

“My roots started at a Christian Brothers school at St. Raymond in the Bronx and De La Salle is a Christian Brothers school, so that’s important to me,” said DeCesare. “I was raised in a Christian Brothers school and I will retire at one.”

DeCesare is one of several coaching changes and hires throughout the Chicago area this spring.


Following three seasons as head coach at Fenwick, Staunton Peck stepped down after going 56-24 overall and winning a share of the Catholic League Blue title this past season.

Tony Young takes over at Fenwick after spending the past four seasons leading the Marmion program.

Young, who coaches with the Illinois Wolves on the club basketball circuit, has a blend of college, AAU and high school basketball coaching experience.

In addition to his recent stint at Marmion, Young was a part of the late Rick Majerus’ staff at Saint Louis in 2013, where he was the director of basketball operations. He was the head coach at East St. Louis from 2012-15.

Young was 54-22 at East St. Louis and compiled a 26-73 record at Marmion.

Young played on the great Schaumburg team that won the 2001 state championship. He went on to play at Southern Illinois.


Conant turned to a familiar name in the Mid-Suburban League to replace Jim Maley, who stepped down after four years on the job.

Matt Walsh, a Conant graduate who spent five years as the head coach at Schaumburg from 2009-2014, takes over a program that finished a combined 9-33 over the past two seasons.

Walsh, who spent the 2020-21 season as Conant’s sophomore coach, won three MSL West championships and three regional titles during his time as coach at Schaumburg.

Waubonsie Valley

Jason Mead certainly leaves the Waubonsie Valley program in a better place than what he inherited in 2016.

Mead’s rebuilding project included going a combined 66-14 over the past three years. He stepped down after five years leading the Warriors.

Waubonsie Valley hired Andrew Schweitzer, who has been the sophomore coach for Mike Healy at Wheaton-Warrenville South.


Brian Hynes, a longtime assistant coach to Gene Nolan at Marist from 2007-2018, will get his shot at running the program.

Hynes, a 1986 Marist graduate, replaces coach Tim Trendel who went 31-40 in three seasons. Trendel has taken an assistant principal job at St. Patrick.


After 14 years with John Camaradella running the program, the Knights stayed in-house and promoted assistant coach Brad Rathe to the top spot. Rathe is a veteran assistant coach who has been with Camardella for all 14 of his years.

Camardella, the winningest coach in school history, put together a 229-149 record while winning 10 MSL East titles and a pair of regional championships.

Lincoln-Way West

Tanner Mitchell, who has been an assistant coach at Lemont for coach Rick Runaas, was hired to replace Brian Flaherty.

Flaherty won two regional championships in nine seasons, including the magical run to Peoria in 2016 where the Warriors finished as state runner-up in Class 3A.

Still open: Several head coaching jobs remain open, including Bremen, Sandburg, Hinsdale South, Highland Park and Hoffman Estates are all still looking to fill their head coaching positions.

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