Matt Lombardi, defensive coordinator for Wayzata’s football team the past seven seasons, has resigned to take the head coaching job at Maple Grove.
Lombardi, whose defenses spurred the Trojans to Class 5A football titles in 2005, 2008 and 2010, replaces Craig Hansen, who recently retired after serving as the first and only coach in Maple Grove’s 14-year history. Lombardi announced his decision to Wayzata’s players in a meeting Wednesday morning.
Lombardi, whose father, Robert Lombardi, is a member of the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame, helped build Wayzata into one of the state’s elite programs. The Trojans went 73-12 during Lombardi’s seven seasons, with the defense pitching 23 shutouts.
The Maple Grove job will test Lombardi’s ability to revitalize a program that finished 3-6 in each of the past three seasons and 38-29 overall in the past seven seasons. An interesting fact: each of Maple Grove three best seasons during that span ended with playoff losses to Wayzata.
Lombardi helped mold several Division I recruits, including James Laurinaitis, Tommy Becker, Tobi Okuyemi, Grant Olson and A.J. Tarpley. But he also did wonders with less heralded units, like the one that helped Wayzata win the 2010 state title. Lombardi’s varied schemes and personnel groups contained Blaine’s spread offense and the power-running games of Mounds View and Rosemount in the state tournament. After the shutout of Blaine, Wayzata head coach Brad Anderson jokingly referred to Lombardi as “a mad scientist.” Next fall, the two could be matching wits in the Section 5 playoffs.