Pat Mooney has resigned after three years as Mountain Valley’s varsity football head coach.

Pat Mooney watches a Mountain Valley preseason practice prior to the 2016 football season. Mooney has resigned as the Falcons’ coach after three seasons. (Sun Journal file photo)

Mooney, 33, told athletic director Tom Danylik last Wednesday that he was stepping down, saying he would be unable to devote the time needed to the job and the program.

“Football is a different animal than coaching any other sport. It’s a full-year commitment,” he said. “It takes a lot of time away from some of the other things you’d also like to do. There are still some personal and professional things that I’d like to get accomplished now while I can, and I feel like by doing that I can’t give the program 100 percent of my attention. When you’re coaching football at Mountain Valley, the program does deserve 100 percent of your attention.”

A 2004 Mountain Valley graduate who teaches social studies at the high school, Mooney was promoted to head coach in 2016 after serving two years as defensive coordinator to then head coach Steve LaPointe. The Falcons had fallen on hard times since winning their last state championship, in Class B, in 2010 and were coming off of back-to-back 2-6 seasons.

Mooney’s first year at the helm was Mountain Valley’s last in Class C. Overall, he compiled a 13-15 record, reaching the playoffs each year. The Falcons were 1-3 in the postseason, reaching the D South semifinals in 2017.

“I’m pretty proud of what we did the last three years,” he said. “When my staff and I got here, things were kind of grim, but I really felt like we’ve built this up the last three years. We’ve turned this team into a contender. I feel comfortable leaving at this time because I think we’re in a good spot. We had a good core of kids coming back. I feel like we’ve made a lot of strides in the last three years in terms of expectations.”

This past season, the Falcons earned the No. 3 seed in D South but lost their last three games, including a 40-12 quarterfinal loss to No. 6 Madison, to finish 4-5.

Mooney said the team was decimated by injuries, such as to senior starting quarterback Dylan Desroches, and academic ineligibilities during the season. Several players quit near the end of the season, bringing a roster that had 43 players at the start of the season to 21 who suited up for the playoff loss.

“We ran into some bad luck with an abnormally high rate of ineligible players academically at the beginning of the year, then we took on some injuries to key players, and especially in the last three weeks we really took it on the chin,” he said. “Those years happen. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is. You’ve got to keep plowing forward.”

To find Mooney’s replacement, Danylik said the school will follow the usual procedure of first opening the position to in-house applicants for 10 days before publicly advertising for candidates.

“We appreciate Pat and the time he’s put into the program,” he said. “We’ve got a big senior class graduating, so whoever the next coach is will have a big job ahead of them, but I feel pretty confident that we’re going to find somebody who can do a good job.”

Danylik said he expects to have a strong pool of applicants from which to choose the fourth head coach in the school’s history.

“It’s Mountain Valley football,” he said. “It’s a name that screams high school football, especially in western Maine, and it’s a name that’s recognized all over the state. I think somebody is going to be excited about the opportunity to bring it back to prominence and to where it was just a short while ago.”

Pat Mooney watches a Mountain Valley preseason practice prior to the 2016 football season. Mooney has resigned as the Falcons’ coach after three seasons. (Sun Journal file photo)

Pat Mooney, center, watches a Mountain Valley preseason practice prior to the 2016 football season. Mooney has resigned as the Falcons’ coach after three seasons. (Sun Journal file photo)