He has accepted the head coaching job at Coatesville High School. Ortega will replace head coach Tom Nichols, who left Coatesville in March to return to his alma matter Conestoga Valley.
"I think it is a huge loss for the program," William Penn athletic director Chaz Green said. "But sometimes change isn't always bad."
Ortega's teams are coming off back-to-back 10-win seasons. Under Ortega, the Bearcats appeared in three district tournaments (2006-08), and they earned the first two district playoff victories in the school's history - recording first-round victories the last two seasons.
"We had over 30 applicants for the position, and when Matt came in he was very enthusiastic," Coatesville athletic director Brian Chenger said. "He worked with a diverse population on and off the field, and we wanted more than just an on-field coach."
Ortega did not want to leave William Penn, but said the Coatesville position was a dream job. The district reminded him of where he grew up in Steelton, and he could picture his three boys - the oldest of whom is 8 - growing up and graduating from the school.
"I knew if this job ever opened up I'd go for it," Ortega said.
Ortega said everything added up to make Coatesville a great opportunity for his family, including finances.
"He was more than a coach, he was a father figure," William Penn senior Malik Generett said. "He was there for school help and for the SATs. He took me to practices.
"Off the field, he was a mentor, because a lot of players don't have a male figure in their family. He was always there."
Strictly a basketball player, Generett joined the football team only after Ortega convinced him to join the team. Asked about the college recruiting process, Generett said Ortega played the "whole role" in securing a scholarship to the University of Connecticut. But he had mixed feelings about Ortega's departure.
"I was kind of hurt in a way," Generett said. "I was hurt because I felt like the family was breaking up - even though I'm not coming back. If I'm coming home to visit I wanted him to be there, but at the same time we can't be selfish.
"He always put us first, and now it's about his family. I'm proud of him making this decision for his family."
Ortega's 2007 squad earned the school's first league title since 1996, and it recorded the first undefeated league record since the 1988 and 1987 teams accomplished the feat.
Through his five seasons, the Bearcats went 37-18 and 23-8 in league play. While the William Penn program has produced more NFL players - including Woody Bennett, Chris Doleman, Andre Powell and Omar Brown - than any school in the county, it has struggled to field a consistent winning program at times.
William Penn fielded its first football team in 1896, but has claimed just eight league titles (1953, 1976, 1981, 1987, 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2007). And since the arrival of the District 3 tournament in 1982, no Bearcats team has advanced to a district final.
Ortega took over a program in the midst of five straight losing seasons, and immediately had the team in contention for a league title and a district playoff berth.
He kept his teams in the title hunt. William Penn dropped the regular season finales in 2008 and 2004 when victories would have clinched a division title or a tie for the division title.
His teams included several big-time college recruits. Knowledge Timmons (Penn State), Greg Gaskins (Pitt), Richard Muldrow (Rutgers) and Generett (UConn) all played for Ortega. But the coach also made it a priority to find a college team for some of his players who didn't earn all-state honors. Ortega said 30 players had gone on to play college football.
"If that's not a staple, you don't have a program," Ortega said.
"That was a big thing for us," Green said. "In five years, his players had a 100-percent graduation rate. We look for a coach to come in and keep things going.
"The next coach will need the same standards: The coach will need to come in and focus on football but also focus on academics."