Philadelphia transplant won 149 games and eight championships in 24 seasons with Eagles

by Gary Adornato

The dean of MIAA football coaches, McDonogh School’s Dom Damico has stepped down after 24 seasons on the Eagles’ sideline where he has won or shared four MIAA A Conference titles after winning four championships in the B Conference.

McDonogh co-athletic directors Mickey Deegan and Matt MacMullen informed McDonogh’s football families of Damico’s decision in a letter sent Wednesday morning. In the letter, obtained by VSN, Deegan and MacMullen stated that Damico would remain at McDonogh on the Upper School faculty as a physical education teacher while continuing to work with the school’s indoor track and golf teams.

Reached for comment, Damico left the door open for a possible future return to the sidelines.

“I spent the last 40 summers and falls on a team or the coach of a team,” said Damico. “I’ll see how it goes this fall. If I miss it, I’ll be back.”

Damico was Varsity Sports Network’s 2013 Coach of the Year when he guided his Eagles to a perfect 11-0 record and the MIAA A Conference title with a team he called “the best I have ever coached.” He was also named the All-Metro Coach of the Year in 2000 when the Eagles went 10-0 in winning the B Conference, including a win over Gilman, champion of the A Conference.

In 24 seasons under Damico, McDonogh went 149-74 (.668) and he retires as the school’s all-time winningest coach. Prior to retirement, he was seventh all-time among active football coaches in Maryland.

Prior to McDonogh, he coached at Philadelphia’s Cardinal Dougherty from 1990-93 and was named Philadelphia Catholic League (PCL) Coach of the Year in 1992. His overall career record as a head football coach is 173-98.

Damico was considered ahead of his time during his years in Philadelphia as he was the first coach to introduce an up tempo spread offense in the PCL, known at the time as the “run and shoot.”

In a 2017 interview with the Northeast Times, Damico said,“We did it because we were playing against much bigger schools, and we had to find a way to compete. The offense was a quirky, new idea that leveled the playing field. It’s a good offense.”

He remained an innovative offensive mind during his days in Owings Mills, having success against MIAA programs and powers from D.C. and Philadelphia with innovation, hard-nose defense and fundamental play up front.

His roots run deep in Philadelphia, where he grew up and played his prep football at North Catholic. From there he went on to play at Temple University where he also broke into coaching after his playing career concluded.

“Dom is a wonderful coach and has a great spot in school history,” said Deegan. “We are very grateful for all his contributions and we are looking forward to keeping him around the nest. He has wonderful relationships with kids and alumni and I have deep affection and respect for him.”

Deegan said the school is not conduction a national search for Damico’s replacement, but rather is interviewing a short list of candidates to fill the vacancy. She said the school plans to have a new coach in place within the next few weeks.