After four seasons as head coach of the Burroughs High football team, Jesse Craven is heading north to tackle his next career challenge.
Craven, who guided Burroughs to the Pacific League championship this season, was named the next head football coach at Westlake on Friday.
Craven, 30, went 21-16, 10-9 in league while manning the sidelines at Burroughs since 2020. Burroughs went 9-2, 5-0 in league for its first league title since 2015 before losing, 42-18, to Agoura in a CIF Southern Section Division VII first-round playoff home contest in 2023.
Craven takes over a Westlake program that went 2-8, 1-4 in the Marmonte League this season. The Warriors won four CIF Southern Section championships between 1999 and 2011, thus raising high expectations near the Los Angeles-Ventura county line.
“For me, [the Westlake program] has been an historically great program and it’s an opportunity to get back to that spot,” said Craven, who led the Bears to the playoffs the past two seasons. “It’s about putting together a staff, and put the pieces in place to get to where we want to be.
“The interview process took place this week and I got to meet people on campus. I think it will be a great for me and my family. I learned a lot at Burroughs, including the understanding of how to grow and develop a program. I wanted to help players maximize their potential and accomplish their goals. I told [Burroughs athletic director] Keith Knoop that I’m grateful for the opportunity to coach at Burroughs and it was an honor and a blast to work with the players, coaches and administration.”
It will be quite the task to turn Westlake around in a league that includes neighborhood rival and powerhouse Oaks Christian, which won the league championship in 2023. Also in the league are St. Bonaventure and Simi Valley. St. Bonaventure captured the Division III title and Simi Valley won the Division VI crown this season.
Knoop, who served as coach at Burroughs from 1997-2015, said taking over the Westlake program will be an excellent test for Craven.
“It’s a great opportunity for him and I told him congrats,” Knoop said. “They are in a brutal league with some excellent teams, so Jesse will have to step it up up there. He learned a lot of things here that he can take to Westlake.
“He hired some great guys at Burroughs and they became league champs. Again, it’s a great opportunity for him to further develop as a coach.”
Knoop said Burroughs will soon begin the process to name Craven’s successor.
“We hope some guys from the current staff will apply,” Knoop said. “We will review the entire pool of applications and candidates throughout and we hope to get it done by January, if possible.”