New head coach Bechtel on leaving for Chino Hills: ‘It was a gamble’

The vision that prompted Matt Bechtel to leave his first head coaching job after just two seasons and leave the Chaffey Joint Union School District after 16 years came to fruition last week. After one year as the Chino Hills offensive coordinator, Bechtel was hired as the school’s head football coach. He interviewed on Feb. 12 and was offered the position Feb. 14.

Bechtel, Colony’s head coach from 2010 to 2011, replaces Derek Bub, who resigned after five years as head coach citing the death of his father in October and his desire to pursue an administrative position. Knowing Bub was closing in on his administrative credential, Bechtel had his eye on the Chino Hills head coaching job when he accepted the offensive coordinator role and a teaching position last year in the Chino Valley Unified School District. But the move didn’t come without risk.

“Most people don’t get an administrative credential and sit on it for five or six years,” Bechtel said. “Did I think this was going to happen in eight months? No. It was a gamble for me to come here. I gave up tenure and 16 years at a time when job security in the teaching profession was in disarray, but you can’t get ahead in life without taking risks.”

Bechtel isn’t shy about his hopes for a Chino Hills program that won Sierra League championships its first three seasons under Bub. The Huskies haven’t missed the playoffs since 2007, the season before Bub took over the program, but playoff appearances are just the beginning of Bechtel’s vision.

“The goal is to take the program from competing for league championships to competing for CIF championships,” Bechtel said. “The goal is to play 16 games and compete for a state championship. I don’t have a timetable for that, but I think we’re closer than people think.”

The chance to coach a school in the Inland Division was admittedly a draw for Bechtel, who coached Colony to a Mt. Baldy League title and the CIF-SS Central Division semifinals his second and final season at the school. He coached in two CIF championship games during his time as an assistant at Upland and Los Osos, but Bechtel claimed to have never seen a crowd the likes of those until joining the staff at Chino Hills. He was so inspired by the community’s support for the program, he envisions something of a small-town atmosphere that will rally around the football team.

“An hour and 15 minutes before our game with Ayala last season the stands were already full,” Bechtel said. “Other than CIF championship games, I’ve never seen that. This is a pro-sports town and they don’t just settle for winning league championships. They’ve got an amazing ASB director in Janet Roberts and the administrative support that give this community an old-fashioned feel.”