Training Camp: When in doubt look for the “M”

MONROVIA — I found my way over to Monrovia High late Tuesday afternoon but not before I got lost and misread the directions from the CIF Directory of Schools.

What I read was exit Colorado but somehow overlooked Santa Anita, which was the actual exit.

Ended up getting off on Myrtle since I didn’t want to cross past the 605 freeway. Drove around and around until I finally ran into Colorado making my way West.

There’s a nice little strip on Myrtle. I have to go check out one of these days.

I had been to Monrovia twice before. Once to cover a football game about six years ago and around the same time when I went to visit an old friend who was Monrovia’s marching band director.

I found my way onto campus and saw the freshman practicing on the baseball field. I got to meet Coach Mendoza whom I told about my little adventure from the Star-News office to Monrovia.

“When in doubt look for the big ‘M'”, said Mendoza as he pointed towards the large “M” that was imprinted on one of the mountains.

I was telling Mendoza how I was looking for the football lights but Monrovia’s lights are not high enough to be visible from the 210 freeway.

Watched a little practice at Monrovia. They were running past 6 p.m. First-year coach Ryan Maddox was observant mostly until the end when he gave the team a spirited speech.

The offense and defense teams were split into groups. Marquis Williams looks like a real football player. He has the size though look for DJ Cole to also pick up some time at running back. Cole’s got speed.

The team already was practicing in pads and Maddox said now is when he’ll know where the team stands. I guess every coach can say the same.

Maddox came off to me as a man with strong character but respectful; likes to get down to business and is a no non-sense coach.

Like every new coach who is taking over a program, Maddox wants to implement his ideas from the decade spent as an assistant coach at West Covina.

Maddox acknowledge the tradition at Monrovia and isn’t there to make drastic changes, though the team will be seeing a few new things here and there, but the expectations Maddox has is to field a competitive team that wins the right way.

As I was interviewing Maddox, I noticed two players who stayed after practice and jogged about 40-yard dashes.

“That goes a long way,” said Maddox as he pointed to the two players.

There were a handful of parents watching practice from afar and when it concluded they all jogged, drank some water and left the premises faster then you can say “free food at In-N-Out”.


Four schools have new coaches this season: Blair, La Salle, Marshall and Monrovia. I am working on a story for the football preview highlighting the new coaches there and what they hope to accomplish.

Marshall and Blair in the past have been dubbed Pasadena’s stepchild. But new Blair coach Gary Parks and new Marshall coach Rickey Pickens hope to change that perception.

After all, wouldn’t it be nice to have Blair, Marshall, Muir and Pasadena all on the same page for once?

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