Knox hires Pomona-Pitzer assistant

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Damon Tomeo has been named to lead the Knox Prairie Fire football program. As the 30th head football coach in the school's 117-year football history, he brings more than a decade of experience.

He takes over from Chad Eisele, who stepped down from coaching to focus on his duties as athletic director. The team was 3-27 in his three years.

Tomeo, who spent the past two seasons as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Pomona-Pitzer, said the people attracted him to Knox. “There is inspiring leadership in athletic director Chad Eisele and president Teresa Amott. It’s a great campus in a supportive community.”

Tomeo was the head football coach from 2006 to 2010 at Division II Minnesota State-Moorhead, where he coached two All-American and 32 all-conference players and his teams broke more than 40 school records. While there, he also raised over $50,000 to help remodel the locker rooms. The Dragons were 14-30 in that time.

He improved the Pomona-Pitzer defensive unit in total defense, scoring defense, and passing defense in 2012. He also served an integral part in increasing the team’s roster size last season to the largest in Pomona-Pitzer’s recorded history. Under Tomeo’s leadership, the team secured 11 early decision application commitments in 2012, the most in its history.

“We are excited about Damon. He brings a lot of energy to the position. He is an outstanding recruiter and he is someone our fans and alumni will really get behind,” Eisele said. “I’m very confident he will bring success to our football program.”

Prior to working on the coaching staff at Pomona-Pitzer, Tomeo was an assistant coach at Colorado State-Pueblo, a Division II school. He was in charge of the safeties, kickers, and punters while also serving as the team’s video coordinator. Tomeo helped develop a secondary unit in which all four starters earned all-conference honors, and his efforts led the conference in scoring defense, interceptions, sacks, red zone defense, and his punt unit finished first in net punting and first in kickoff coverage.
His 14-year coaching career has also included stints at California Lutheran, Arizona and Redlands.

After meeting with the team, Tomeo said the players are hungry to improve the program and he’s excited to work with them.

Eisele said there were close to 200 applicants for the head football coach position at Knox. The applications were screened by a search committee comprised of nearly a dozen people. Five finalists came to campus for in-person interviews.

Tomeo earned his bachelor’s degree in anthropology at Pomona College and was a four-year starting football player from 1995 to 1998 at Pomona-Pitzer. He received his master’s degree in education administration from Redlands.

Earlier this year, the Knox football program was the beneficiary of a $1.6 million gift from the estate of the late Vernon L. E. Stisser, Jr. Stisser was a 1962 Knox College graduate, a steadfast supporter of Knox College athletics, and a long-time trustee and donor to the College. The gift, which is endowed, will provide income annually in support of the football program in perpetuity. The football field at the Knosher Bowl was named Vernon Stisser Field in recognition of Stisser’s generosity, which was announced by Amott prior to the 2012 Homecoming game.