McFadden won eight Mesa League championships in his 13 seasons as head coach of the Titans. His teams made the playoffs each of those 13 seasons, winning the San Diego Section Division I title in 2012, beating Mission Hills 21-14, and 2009, beating Vista 21-14.
The Titans were undefeated in 2009, going 11-0-2. The only blemishes were ties with Moorpark and Lincoln to open the season.
From 2004-2013, McFadden’s teams were 93-24-3 with double-figure wins in 2009, ’10, ’12 and ’13.
John McFadden’s teams won San Diego Section Division I titles in 2009 and 2012.
Eastlake’s McFadden talks about why he returned to coaching
On the front of John McFadden’s desk in the Eastlake High boys’ coach’s office are these letters. “Coach John M—adden.”
McFadden, who was the head coach at Eastlake for 14 years before stepping down four years ago, is returning to the sideline this fall.
He explained the missing letters.
“In fact, when I used to do statistics with the Chargers, they asked me if I could go shopping for John Madden’s RV. So, I went down to Vons and got some pre-made chicken dinners. I never got to really meet him.”
Madden is well-known as a television announcer whose fear of flying resulted in him using a motorhome to get from assignment to assignment.
He was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders from 1969-1978, winning the Super Bowl in 1977, en route to posting a 103-32-7 record (76.3 winning percentage). In 2006 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
McFadden is a big fan of Madden but an even bigger fan of Eastlake High football, which is why when he had the opportunity, he quickly changed direction, rolled the dice and applied for the job.
“I missed every aspect of coaching,” said McFadden, a physical education teacher and assistant track coach at Eastlake. “I stepped down four years ago and soon realized that even though I was an assistant for three years, when I didn’t coach at all last year I wanted to get back.
“When the Bonita Vista job opened up, I applied and the day I was offered that job, I found out that Dean Tropp was stepping down here at Eastlake. Calling Bonita Vista was very difficult and there was no guarantee I’d get the Eastlake job, but I had to try.”
He could still be without a football coaching gig but two weeks ago he was told he had the job at Eastlake if he wanted it. There probably has never been a quicker “yes” response.
“I had too much of an ego when I stepped down, I was upset about something, but in the four years I think I’ve mellowed a bit,” said McFadden, who posted a 121-44-3 record from 2000 through 2013, making the playoffs every year.
In 2009, with future pro Tony Jefferson leading the way, the Titans tied their first two games and didn’t lose again, capturing the Division I title with a 21-14 victory over Vista.
Eastlake won the first 11 games the next year to run its streak to 21 straight victories before losing to Mira Mesa.
“I actually enjoy the work—organizing; the camaradie with the kids, coaches and parents; it’s something I think I’m pretty good at. Since I’m not good at very many things, I thought I’d better do it. I had to fight to get the job and I’m really excited about getting started.”
McFadden said he actually hasn’t coached any of the returning players directly—he ran the weight room—and he has lined up what he believes is a quality coaching staff with some of Tropp’s assistants and some of those who worked with him in the past.
He’s also very excited about Eastlake’s prospects after the Titans went 10-3 last year, losing in the Division I championship to El Camino, 20-10.
They return four of the five starting offensive linemen and 6-foot, 225-pound linebacker Josh McCurty, who had 206 tackles, six sacks and is called the “best linebacker in the section” by McFadden.
“You surround yourself with good coaches and go after it non-stop,” said McFadden. “There will be naysayers, there always is, but I’m excited just to be back.”