After the departure of Brice Sunderland, who served as the Etiwanda High School athletic director the last 14 years, the school didn’t have to look far for a replacement. As of July 1, Etiwanda softball coach David Masucci expanded his duties to include athletic director. A science teacher for 10 years and the softball coach since 2002, Masucci was all to glad to add to his responsibilities when he was hired as the athletic director.
“I’m attracted to all the sporting events anyway but this job just gives me a chance to really be involved,” Masucci said. “Now I’m just getting paid to do what I love.”
Don Furnald, who was hired as Etiwanda’s head baseball coach Thursday, spoke today about trying to spark an Etiwanda program that has one winning season in its last six and hasn’t made the playoffs since Brice Sunderland become the athletic director in 1997.
“The biggest expectation is to change the culture of the program,” Furnald said. “We’re trying to bring in a whole new program. It’s not like since I’ve been an assistant I’m going to come in and run the same program.”
Furnald, 30, doesn’t think the Eagles are far from being a playoff team.
“It feels like we’re right on the brink,” he said. “We want to be right in the mix in the Baseline League and that’s where we were last year. We’re trying to increase the positivity of Etiwanda baseball. We’re trying to build a tradition. We haven’t had that in a while and we’re trying to start that now.”
Fontana High School athletic director Evelyn Vance may be retiring but it’s a safe bet she won’t ever escape the competitive drive that drew her to the school 29 years ago. On June 30, Vance stepped down after five years as Fontana’s athletic director and 24 years coaching “just about every sport” at Fontana. Her newfound free time, however, will be devoted to an effort to rejoin the U.S. National triathlon team.
Despite a knee replacement a year ago, Vance, 60, is ready to dive back into the regimen that took her to 10 Iron Man competitions. She’s hoping that feats the likes of a 2.5-mile swim followed by a 112-mile bike ride capped by a full marathon lie ahead of her. The fruits of the journey she’s leaving behind are nothing short of impressive.
“I came here in 1980 and it was the start of an empire,” Vance said. “I was running a junior high program that looked like a small college program. The town took me in and I’ve taken so much pride working in this city and for this school.”
As the head girls basketball coach for 17 years at Ayala High School, Mel Sims has seen his share of games on the hardwood. It’s the lack of soccer games, among other things, that led him to a decision to retire from coaching on Thursday.
“I’ve got a daughter on the soccer team who I saw play one game all of last year,” Sims said. “I’ve had 35 great years but at some point you’ve got to choose between work and family. I’ve been neglecting my family for too long.”
Sims, 69, has coached the Ayala girls to 14 consecutive Sierra League titles, leading the Bulldogs to a CIF championship in 2007 before a triple-overtime loss cost them a berth in the state championship game. He also won a CIF title in 1990 coaching the Pasadena Muir girls.
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After seven years as the offensive coordinator at Los Osos High School, Matt Bechtel was hired as the head football coach at Colony High School on Monday, pending board approval that can come no sooner than March 2. Bechtel, 35, begins his first stint as a head coach with plenty of hopes for a Colony program that won CIF championships in 2006 and 2007.
“If you look at the success at Colony and the potential there, it’s the type of program that can be a force not just in the area but in the entire Inland Empire,” Bechtel said. “I don’t think winning will so much be the challenge here as it will be to adjust to a new coaching staff and a new philosophy.”
Bechtel has spent nearly his entire coaching career in the Inland Empire, beginning with a year as an assistant at Cajon in 1996 before spending 1997-2002 as the quarterbacks coach at Upland. He was hired in 2002 to be the offensive coordinator at Los Osos, where he remained save the 2008 season during which he was the Chaffey College offensive coordinator.
Bechtel was the head coach-in-waiting at Los Osos behind Tom Martinez, the Grizzlies’ inaugural head coach.
“My phone was blowing up all day with people asking me why I would leave if I was the next guy at Los Osos,” Bechtel said. “It was a tough decision – I’ve had other opportunities since I’ve been at Los Osos – but I felt like this was the perfect fit with my philosophy. Tom (Martinez) is a young man. He’s got plenty of years left and I didn’t want to be the one to push him out.”
Chino High School didn’t have to look far for its new head football coach. Matt McCain, who will retain his athletic director position at Chino, will be the fourth head coach of the Cowboys in the last six years, pending board approval that can come no earlier than Feb. 18.
The Chino graduate will replace the departed Greg Setlich, who went 2-18 in his two seasons at the helm following a two-year stint by Manny Saiz that netted seven wins.
“We’ve been through some challenging times recently, but there’s a rich history,” McCain said. “I think we can get it back on track. I think a lot of our kids at Chino. Chino High School is a great place to work and coach. Expectations are high.”
McCain has been a large part of that rich history, playing for and coaching under John Monger during the legendary coach’s 19-year tenure at the school.
Webb High School football coach Robbie von Pertz is resigning his position due to medical concerns a season after leading Webb to its first playoff appearance since the program returned to 11-man football in 1998.
“The kids were devastated to hear the news of his departure, and while of course sorry to have to accept Coach von Pertz’s resignation, we understand the reasons for it and wish him the best of luck going forward,” Webb athletic director Stephen Wishek said in an e-mail. “He has built a solid foundation for the next coach to build upon.”
Pomona High School football coach John Brown resigned Jan. 8 on the premise that the school offered his job to Colony fourth-year head coach Anthony Rice soon after Brown’s first and only season head coach. Rice said that in a conversation about two months ago with Pomona athletic director Tom Sweeney, Rice’s friend and former colleague, Sweeney floated the idea of Rice joining Pomona’s coaching staff as the offensive coordinator under Brown.
“I was never offered (Brown’s) job,” Rice said Tuesday. “Tom (Sweeney) was talking to me about being the offensive coordinator and I just laughed it off. It was kind of a joke… I’m already a head coach, so why would I go be an offensive coordinator? He was kind of serious about it but I just laughed it off.”
The Chino Valley Unified School District and Ayala High School girls basketball coach Mel Sims have confirmed that assistant coach Nick Masi resigned for “personal reasons.” Neither Sims nor the district would give details as to the “personal reasons.” Masi was in his second season as Sims’ assistant and served as a substitute teacher in the district. Off-campus junior varsity coach Leonard Guinn will serve double duty as JV coach and varsity assistant. “You can’t find another coach and get board approved this late in the season,” Sims said.
Former Pomona High School football coach John Brown’s statement that the Pomona administration contacted other coaches about replacing him as early as the middle of his first and only season as the head coach was not substantiated by those he said were contacted.
Brown said Colony head football coach Anthony Rice was offered his job after the season and Diamond Ranch coach Roddy Layton was contacted about his job in the middle of the season. When reached Friday, both Rice and Layton said they weren’t contacted about or offered the head football coaching job by Pomona High School.
Both Layton and Rice, who graduated from Pomona Unified School District’s Ganesha High and Garey High, respectively, acknowledged knowing many in and around Pomona’s football program. Layton was an assistant coach on the 1996 Pomona staff with Brown.
“I never got a phone call from anybody at Pomona and I’ve never been offered a job at Pomona,” Layton said. “I’m sure if my name pops up – I’m a product of Pomona Unified, I coached there for a year and I’d like to think I’ve had some success recently – it’s because my name pops up in a lot of places.”