North Monterey County High football hired John Villa as their new head football coach on June 4 and was introduced to his players Monday at the high school. -- Tony Nunez
CASTROVILLE — New North Monterey County High head coach John Villa had a simple message for his team: there’s only one way to go, up.
Villa, who was hired by the high school just five days ago, was introduced to his players Monday.
“This school has some great history,” Villa said, “and I think this community remembers that history and they’re willing to back up this program and help it get off the ground. Everybody wants to pitch in and help, so that’s a big thing.”
Villa was previously the head coach at Coalinga High School for the last two seasons and in his first year as the head coach for the Horned Toads they won the West Sierra League championship.
They also won a Central Section playoff game beating McLane High 28-27.
“I like my chances here,” Villa said. “I like the kids and the school. I like the fact that the school has a large diversity that they draw from.”
Along with the diversity and history, another reason Villa, who coached defense at Madera High before taking over Coalinga High, was one of his idols, Mark Speckman, was a coach in the area.
Like Speckman, he will run the fly offense, but also has diversified his playbook to include elements of the pro-style and the west coast offense.
“It’s a mixture,” Villa said. “It’s fun stuff to run, it’s really exciting.”
Pair the chance to walk in Speckman’s footsteps with the opportunity to move from Madera to the coast isn’t a bad combo.
“When I left the 108 degree heat and came here I was like, ‘yeah, I was meant to be here,’” Villa quipped.
Villa will teach at history at the high school.
Last season the Condors finished winless at 0-10 and the year before they finished 5-5.
The last time the Condors finished above .500 was the 2010 season when they posted a 10-2 record and beat Burlingame High in the first round of the Central Coast Section playoffs 34-27.
They won their last league championship in 2003.
But Villa has confidence that his stay at North Monterey County High will go well.
“I plan on being here for a long time,” Villa said. “I had a great meeting with the coaches and I think I have a lot of good coaches and have stepped up and want to do the right thing. They want to spend the extra time learning and working with me. I think it’s going to go well.”
Athletic Director Hector Villalobos, who stepped in as head coach last season, said that the relationship that Villa has already formed with the administration was a big factor in the decision.
“Principal (Caroline) Calero said she was impressed by the program vision coach Villa hopes to establish at North Monterey County,” Villalobos said in an email.
For the complete article see the 06-10-2014 issue.
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