Brian Glatz knows all about the rich tradition of Cherokee football.
He has been part of it for much of his life.
Glatz played for coach Jim Horner, who started the program when the school opened in the mid-1970s and built the Chiefs into a South Jersey power.
Glatz was an assistant coach under John Scott and P.J. Mehigan, spending 23 years in a supporting role for the orange and brown.
Now, Glatz has stepped into the spotlight, as he was named Wednesday night as just the fourth head coach in Cherokee football history.
"It's exciting and humbling," Glatz said. "I'm a Marlton guy. I've been a Marlton guy my whole life. I know what Cherokee football means to this community."
Glatz graduated from Cherokee in 1986. He was a standout wrestler and football player and a member of the Chiefs team that won the South Jersey Group 4 title in 1985.
After working as a mechanical engineer, Glatz returned to Cherokee as a math teacher and an assistant coach in 1995. He's been there ever since.
"Cherokee football has been a big part of my life's work," Glatz said. "But when you are an educator or a coach, the ultimate goal is to help develop young men of character."
Glatz replaces P.J. Mehigan, who resigned after last season. Mehigan's teams won five sectional titles in 14 seasons.
Mehigan and defensive coordinator Matt Shultz have left the program. The rest of the staff will remain in place, Glatz said.
Glatz, who has been an offensive line coach as well as run-game coordinator for most of his career an assistant, likely will oversee the offense. The Chiefs could hire a new defensive coordinator or promote an assistant from within.
"The cornerstone of this program is working hard to be better today than you were yesterday," Glatz said. "The focus is the same as always, hard work and being committed to a common goal."
Cherokee was 7-3 last season. The Chiefs are scheduled to open the 2018 season Sept. 7 at school-district rival Shawnee.
St. Joseph, which is scheduled to return most starters from last season's 12-0 team, will open the season Aug. 31 at Hamden (Conn.) Hall Country Day School.
St. Joseph coach Paul Sacco said Hamden will travel south to play the Wildcats in 2019, perhaps at Widener University.
"They're supposed to be pretty good," Sacco said of Hamden, which was 10-1 in 2017 and 11-0 in 2016. "The coach said they had five Division I recruits last year."
St. Joseph's second game could be at an unusual site as well. The Wildcats are in discussions with Rutgers University for the team's Sept. 7 game vs. Millville to be played at the Scarlet Knights' home stadium.
Camden will open its season Aug. 31 at Wise High in Upper Marlboro, Md.
Wise is a three-time defending 4A state champion. The Pumas were 14-0 last season.
Holy Cross and Gloucester Catholic will start the season on one of the earliest opening dates in South Jersey football history, as the Rams will visit the Lancers on Thursday, Aug. 30.
The game was added as a ninth game for both teams. Holy Cross was 5-5 last season as a member of the WJFL Liberty Division while Gloucester Catholic was 6-4 as a member of the WJFL Classic.
Also, St. Augustine Prep will open at home Aug. 31 vs. State College, Pa. The Hermits will visit the Little Lions in 2019. That trip will include attendance at a Penn State home game, according to Hermits athletic director Mike Rizzo.