A New Era for Morton Football

Offensive Coordinator, Dan O’Donnell gets the nod for Head Coach.


Silas Gonzalez

Pictured: Head Coach Dan O’Donnell

Julian Hernandez, The Sterling Writer

J. Sterling Morton Football has found their new head coach. After 9 years of coordinating both sides of the ball, offense and defense, coach Dan O’Donnell was donned the Head Coach position. Coach O’Donnell started his tenure at Morton back in 2014. He started off as a defensive coordinator and then was named the offensive coordinator in the 2019-20 season. His offensive scheme showed great success as scoring the most points in school recorded history in the ’21-22 season and having a 1,000 yard rusher, David Arana. While in the ’22-23 season, the record was broken again for most points scored and having a 1,000 passer, Julian Hernandez.

The Sterling interviewed Coach O’Donnell on his new position and a preview for the next season.

TS: How excited are you for the upcoming season, now being donned as the head coach?

DO: “I’m extremely excited, very thankful for this opportunity. Coach Organ, over the last 13 years, has put this program into a great position. He has really helped me to grow, to become a better leader, and take over as the new head coach.”

TS: What do you believe is the biggest thing to address on the coaching side? Why?

DO: “The biggest thing to address on the coaching side is to just focus on the little details. To make sure we are coaching up everything. Trying to take a player from where they’re at and help them to grow and develop as much as possible, no matter what their ability is. It’s a daily grind. To make sure we are doing everything we can to improve on our craft as well, to help these kids grow. Every player learns in different ways. We just need to make sure we are giving every kid the tools and as many opportunities as possible to grow.”

TS: What do you believe is the biggest thing to address on the players’ side? Why?

OD: “On the players’ side, it is going to get them to buy in, being more committed, disciplined, and doing the right things all the time, whether it is on the field, in the classroom and in the community as well. There is a great group of kids here, it is just taking it to that next level, in terms of the commitment aspect. Being at all the offseason lifting, being at all the team workouts and not missing practices. Doing all the things it requires to play winning football.”

The Sterling wishes their best luck to Coach O’Donnell on the upcoming football season.

Transitioning under a new head coach may sometimes be a bit worrisome, yet with a familiar face, such as Coach O’Donnell, players may not have to worry too much on the set standards they will be held to throughout the offseason and in the next season as well.

The Sterling talked to upcoming senior, three year starting safety, Daniel Torres, on how he feels about the change at the helm of the program.

Pictured above: Starting Safety, Danny Torres, resting after a defensive drive for the Morton Mustangs.

TS: How do you feel about the upcoming season being under a new head coach?

DT: “Honestly, I’m excited. Having a new coach is what I think this program needed, a nice reset and a refresher. We have a lot in plan for this season and I think we are on the road for a great amount of success for the upcoming season.”

TS: What are your thoughts on Coach O’Donnell receiving this position?

DT: “I am happy and excited for him to get this opportunity. I think he really deserves this. He has been here, coaching in this program for a while now. Being on both sides(offense and defense) of the ball, which can really help us in game planning and he knows our team’s weaknesses and our strengths.”

TS: What do you feel should be the biggest thing addressed, among players, for the upcoming season?

DT: “Getting guys to buy in, lock in and trust the coaching. At the end of the day, the coaches want the best for us as individuals and as the team. I feel that guys are still on the fence on whether to buy in and go 100%.”

Hearing from former and current players of the program, there is a major consensus that the lack of success comes from players not trusting the process. Many believe that the program is trending up with Coach O’Donnell at the helm, especially in terms of respect from opponents.

Make sure you catch the opening kickoff for the 2023-’24 season as the Mustangs travel to Riverside Brookfield and face the Bulldogs on Friday, August 25th, at 7:15 pm.