Jarod Claybourn, a one-time player at conference-rival Paulsboro, was named Sterling High's football coach last night.

Claybourn, 28, had been a Sterling assistant the last five seasons, working with the quarterbacks and helping call the plays while perched above the press box.

As head coach Jim Gallagher "got more comfortable with him, he called most of the plays from up top," Sterling athletic director Bill Hiltner said yesterday.

Claybourn was a high-quality player at Paulsboro and at King's College in Wilkes-Barre. He starred at defensive back and divided the quarterback duties with Vernon Sharper at Paulsboro, helping the Red Raiders set a state record for consecutive wins. At King's, he was an MAC academic all-star in 1999 as a quarterback and 2001 as a wide receiver.

Moving to head coach should be a smooth transition for Claybourn, Hiltner said.

"He brings knowledge of the kids, knowledge of the school and knowledge of the program," Hiltner said. "He brings lots of energy and enthusiasm that comes with youth."

Gallagher said he resigned because he wanted to spend more time with his family and because he didn't want to coach without his close friend, assistant John Watts, who resigned because of an illness.

Gallagher compiled a 152-115-5 record at four schools, including a 105-74-2 mark at Sterling. He also coached at Holy Spirit (36-11-1), Lower Cape May (3-13-1) and St. Joseph (8-17-1).

Sterling went 3-7 last fall. The Silver Knights will return 15 starters, including nine on offense.

Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi

at 215-854-5181

or scarchidi@phillynews.com.