The Youngest Head Varsity High School Football Coach EVER in America hails from California

head varsity head coachIn 1997, Joe Cattolico was hired as Overfelt High School's head coach in 1997 at the age of 22. Photo from Cam Medrano of Eye of the Tiger at

Thanks to all that are reaching-out on this story. Please note, I’ve been in contact with several coaches who are also 22 years old, so we’re working through ages and hiring dates. I will update the story as soon as we have all of the information.

On Tuesday, I wrote about Pen Argyl High School (Pennsylvania) hiring 23-year old Brady Mutton as its new head coach. When I saw his age, it put me on a mission to find-out if he’s the youngest head varsity football coach ever in America?

The answer is…no.

At first, during my research, I discovered that Mitchell Parsley of Crowell High School in Texas had Mutton beat by six months. Parsley was hired in December.

However, just moments before posting the story, my good friend Chris Fore texted me about Joe Cattolico, who was 22-years old when he was hired before the 1997 season by Overfelt High School in San Jose, California.

In just his second season at the helm of Overfelt, Cattolico led the program to a California Central Coast Section II championship.

Read a story from The Mercury News about that 1998 title

Cattolico then moved-on to Pleasant Grove, turning the Eagles into one of the top programs in the northern part of California. There he won four league titles, plus a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship and coached current San Francisco 49er Arik Armstead.

After a brief retirement, Cattolico returned to coaching. He took the head job at Sheldon where he led the team to records of 8-4, 9-3 and 10-2. In his final season in 2018 at Sheldon, he won a Delta League title.

This year, Cattolico will be heading into his second season with Roseville. The Tigers were 7-5 last year, advancing to the second round of the playoffs.

So there you have it…UNLESS…someone else knows of someone who became a head coach younger than 22. If you do, please email me, so we can update our story and honor that person.

Editor’s Note: During our research we found other young varsity head football coaches that we’d like to salute. They are listed below.

Mark Bates, 23 – Los Angeles Baptist (California), 1998

About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.