New Northwood football coach Phil Roh addresses football players after being named the Timberwolves' new coach.

Roh takes over as Northwood football coach

Staff Writer

New Northwood football coach Phil Roh was welcomed Tuesday afternoon with a standing ovation from his players after he was introduced to succeed Dean Toohey.

Roh, 35, has been on the Northwood football staff for five years. He was wide receivers coach the first year and the offensive coordinator the past four years. Roh coached at Woodbridge for Rick Gibson before joining Rick Curtis’ staff at Northwood. He has worked in the Irvine Unified School District since 2000.

This will be Roh’s first assignment as a head varsity football coach.

Roh was introduced by Northwood principal Leslie Roach in an early afternoon meeting in the auditorium. School officials had made a decision late last week but wanted the football players to be the first ones to hear of the decision.

Roach said Roh was the perfect coach to replace Toohey, who resigned after two seasons. She noted Roh’s leadership abilities and familiarity with Northwood.

He was one of eight candidates for the job, she said.

Roh told his football players the Northwood program will “do things the right way.”

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In an interview, Roh said he was excited about becoming the school’s third head football coach.

“It’s humbling,” Roh said. “At the end of the season, Dean stepped down and we talked about who would be a good candidate for the job and I said, ‘I want the best for these kids.’ I just wasn’t sure that I was the best one.

“That’s where my conversations with coaches on campus and admin (the administration) really helped me believe that I could do it.”

Roh will guide a team that was 2-8 overall and 1-4 in the Pacific Coast League last season.

“There is tons of potential,” he said. “I think the challenge for us is to help the kids manage the academic pressures along with the demands that are required of being in athletics, especially in a sport like football.”

Roh, who earned his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree at UC Irvine, has been Northwood’s athletic director for about a year and will continue in that role for the time being, he said.

Roh added that Toohey will remain on the staff as strength and conditioning coodinator and an assistant coach for the defense.

Roh plans to finalize his coaching staff in the coming weeks.

“To have as many quality coaches as we have on campus played a real big role in that (his) decision,” he said.

Roh graduated from Beverly Hills High, where he was a running back and linebacker.

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