Friday, March 9, 2012 | 8:54 p.m.
Matt Gerber would have been content staying as an assistant high school football coach. Then, the head coaching position opened at Durango High.
Gerber, who was on Durango’s staff from 1998 to 2005, was hired Friday as the Trailblazers’ new coach. He was Green Valley High’s head coach for five years through the 2010 season before spending last year as the offensive coordinator at Silverado.
“I didn’t think it would happen this quickly,” Gerber said of returning to the role of a head coach. “The opportunity arose and I certainly jumped at it. Durango was No. 1 on the list of places I wanted to get back to.”
The time off from the demands of being a head coach has helped recharge batteries. At Durango, he replaces Gary Maki.
“It was really nice getting back to just focus on the game aspect of coaching,” Gerber said of his year at Silverado. “But what I learned is that I enjoy the other stuff (involved in running a program). I really felt the need to put the stamp on my career. I wanted to go out on my terms. I have a lot of unfinished business.”
Gerber was Durango’s offensive coordinator in 2001 when it captured the Sunset Regional title. He also helped coach Jamaal Brimmer, the school’s best all-time athlete who led them in 1999 to a deep playoff run before becoming an All-American at UNLV.
At Green Valley, Gerber posted a 24-30 record and in 2008 led the Gators to their first playoff victory in 11 seasons.
Durango took fourth in the Southwest Division last year and lost in the Sunset quarterfinals to Palo Verde. They return one of the best backfields in the Las Vegas Valley with rising senior running backs Marcus Williams and A.J. McQuaig, and quarterback Scott Martinez.
“They’ll be very happy with our offense,” said Gerber, who is known for his run-first playing calling.