Jonathan Caputo didn't wait long to begin his job as the new football coach of Buena Regional High School.

The Buena Board of Education approved Caputo on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, Caputo met with the players and watched the Chiefs lift weights after school.

"We hit the ground running," Caputo said.

Buena officials didn't have to search far to hire the 38-year-old Caputo, who graduated from Hammonton High School in 1990.

He teaches health and physical education at Buena and was a former football assistant and former girls basketball head coach.

Caputo also has head coaching experience in football. He coached at Audubon the past two years.

"I feel like I can have a great impact on the players, the program, the school and the community," he said. "Being in the building, I'll be able to reach the kids throughout the day and in the offseason. I always liked working with the kids."

Caputo replaces Paul Callahan, who was 18-23 in four seasons. The Chiefs, who were 3-7 last season, made the South Jersey Group II playoffs in three of Callahan's four seasons. Caputo was the offensive coordinator under Callahan in 2007-08.

"Coach Caputo's head coaching experience, along with his remarkable characteristics as a teacher and coach, will benefit the students, the school and the community in many ways," Buena athletic director Dave Albertson said in a statement.

Buena is known as a football school.

"Football is a priority at our school," Caputo said. "I think we have the right type of kids. Kids who are willing to work hard. They understand the full-time commitment to be a football player. The community embraces it. The administration embraces it."

Audubon went 5-5 in each of Caputo's two seasons. He was named the Colonial Conference Patriot Division Coach of the Year last season.

Caputo said the experience he gained at Audubon will benefit him at Buena.

"It's always good to be a leader of a program," he said. "You have to make the tough decisions, and you have to do what's right for the program. It all starts with you and it all ends with you."

Contact Michael McGarry:

609-272-7185