Menlo School will have two new coaches, both familiar faces around campus, taking over varsity teams for the 2015-2016 season. Ross Ireland will direct girls soccer and Tom Hitchcock will lead boys golf.
Ireland takes over for Donoson FitzGerald, who stepped down after 26 seasons during a long and storied career. FitzGerald will be assisting with the boys varsity soccer team as well as coaching soccer, track and football in the middle school.
Hitchcock takes over for Dave Buchanan, who moved on after a successful four-year campaign with Menlo.
"We feel fortunate that we have such outstanding assistants in Ross and Tom, who both understand the philosophy of Menlo's program, and who can immediately step up and lead our teams," said Menlo Director of Athletics Kris Weems. "Both coaches have extensive playing and coaching experience, and are exemplary leaders."
Ireland brings years of international playing and coaching experience to Menlo. He served the last couple of seasons as the frosh-soph girls coach, and before coming to Menlo, led Castilleja's team for eight seasons.
Ireland grew up playing soccer on the streets of Liverpool, then refined his skills as a player with St. George in Sydney, New Zealand's National Youth Selection, FC Barcelona and Southampton FC England. In 1994, he co-founded World Soccer Inc., a professionally run youth soccer organization coaching teams within the Stanford, Palo Alto and MVLA soccer clubs. Not only has he led some of the strongest youth teams in the region, he has developed many players that have gone on to successful college and pro careers.
Hitchcock is a familiar face not only on the links, but also on campus as he serves as Menlo's Director of Security. For the past four years, he was an assistant coach for both the boys and girls teams. Hitchcock counts working with the students on the mechanical and mental sides of golf as one of the most enjoyable parts of his job.
Before retiring, Hitchcock was a 39-year police department veteran. He was the Chief of Police for the cities of Brisbane and Millbrae for 22 years. He played both amateur and senior amateur tournament golf. Hitchcock said playing and associating with some of the nation's top amateur players gave him invaluable knowledge on tournament play at the highest levels.