Gilbert hired Mesquite defensive coordinator Leland Rodgers as its new football coach on Tuesday.
Rodgers was also the defensive line and strength coach for the Wildcats last season. He led team workouts during the summer when current coach Matt Gracey still had a teaching job in Ridgecrest, Calif.
Rodgers replaces Dan Dunn, who resigned after the season following his second stint at the school. Dunn said he’d like to continue teaching and the school and work as a lower-level assistant. Dunn went 15-18 in three seasons during his most recent stint as Gilbert’s coach.
Rodgers has also coached at Desert Vista. He graduated from Dobson and played collegiately at Florida Atlantic.
Gilbert has some key pieces returning from last year. Quarterback Mitch Trail was 120 of 200 passing for 1,694 yards with 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions last season. His main target was wide receiver Conner Helvig, who caught 48 passes for 821 yards and eight touchdowns. Both will be seniors next fall.
Mesquite’s defense allowed 267 points last season, which was the 16th-best among 40 Division I schools.