High School Sports

Prep Football: Coast Union hires former assistant coach to replace Clements

Coast Union High has hired Ron Garcia to be its new head varsity football coach.

Garcia, 49, is taking over for David Clements, who was let go in late November soon after the Broncos completed a 1-9 season. Garcia served as a line assistant for Coast Union’s varsity squad from 2006 to 2008. He took this past season off because of a different teaching schedule.

Garcia also served as a line coach at Selma High in the Fresno area from 1983 to 1984 and then at Clark Intermediate Junior High in Clovis in 1986 before becoming the head junior varsity coach at Fowler High in 1987. Soon after, he began a lengthy stretch as a school administrator before returning to coaching at Coast Union.

Garcia, a Caruthers native, teaches social studies at Coast Union.

He interviewed Monday and was notified he got the job Tuesday.

“I’m really appreciative of the opportunity,” Garcia said. “I’m really excited. We get a chance at Coast Union to work with some really quality kids.”

Garcia’s previous coaching experience at Coast Union was key in the hiring decision, Broncos athletic director Bill Clough said, as was his already having a teaching position at the Cambria school with an enrollment of roughly 300.

“It was actually a pretty easy thought process,” Clough said.

Coast Union went 16-26 during Clements’ four-year stint guiding the program. Clements directed the Broncos to the playoffs in 2006 and 2007 before going a combined 3-17 over the past two years.

Coast Union’s roster size thinned to just 21 players this past season, and the school was unable to field a JV team for the first time in recent memory.

Garcia said he and Clough are “optimistic” the school will be able to have a JV in 2010. Nearly 30 percent of the players on last year’s varsity were underclassmen.

Garcia said he doesn’t plan on emphasizing football as a year-round sport with regard to training and preparation because of the school’s small enrollment, which typically fosters more multi-sport athletes than larger enrollments.

“We’re going to provide opportunities all year long for kids to work out and get into the weight room, but it’s not going to be mandated,” said Garcia, who has also coached the Broncos’ boys tennis team.

“Being a school administrator, I know there’s only a limited amount of athletes, and you have to be supportive of other sports. Otherwise those other programs (might) fold.”

One of the positives of having such a young outfit this past year, Garcia said, is that the Broncos do return some promising talent.

Running backs Zach Brooke and Sam Rivera, namely, combined to rush for 1,284 yards this past season as juniors.

Garcia said he plans on particularly focusing on the run both offensively and defensively, given the nature of Division V of the CIF-Central Section, in which the Broncos play.

“I’m a big believer that, if you take a look at the Central Section and this division, if you look at the playoff results from last week, it’s pretty clear you need to be able to run the football and be able to stop the run.”

Prior to the start of this school year, Coast Union was accepted into the Southern Section in all sports except football. The school’s sports programs are independent outside of football, which competes in the West Sierra League.

Coast Union’s ultimate goal is to eventually gain admission in non-football sports to the Coast Valley League, in which fellow San Luis Obispo County teams North County Christian, Coastal Christian and Shandon play.

The other teams in the CVL are Valley Christian of Santa Maria, Cuyama Valley and Maricopa.