The last time Mark Krail paced the sidelines at Los Gatos High School's Helm Field was back in 2006 when he was the head football coach at San Jose's Pioneer High School and his Mustangs were challenging the Wildcats in the Central Coast Section playoffs.
This fall, that scene will change dramatically.
Krail will now be walking the Los Gatos sidelines as the new head varsity football coach for the Wildcats, taking over for the legendary Butch Cattolico, who announced this retirement at the end of the 2012 season.
Cattolico leaves Los Gatos after 41 seasons on the varsity coaching staff, 26 as head coach. During his tenure as the top Cat, Gatos posted a 264-62-5 record, won 16 league championships and claimed 12 Central Coast Section titles. In every one of those 26 seasons he led the Cats into the CCS playoffs, 23 times getting as far as the semifinals and 17 times reaching the title game.
Those are big shoes to fill, and no one knows that better than Krail, who has nothing but respect for his predecessor.
"Obviously the bar is set very high and the expectations are high," he said, praising the trail blazed by Cattolico. "Some people find similarities between our personalities, but there are differences, too.
"I just have to be myself," he added.