A “FROM THE SIDELINES” EXCLUSIVE
It’s been four days since Temple City interim football coach Tim Loya left the field since the Rams lost a thriller, 27-6, against Paraclete in the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division playoffs.
After us reporters got done interviewing him we asked Loya to make sure he’d come back. Why wouldn’t you want a guy like Loya to stick around. If there are such things as a players’ coach, Loya quickly assumed that role for reporters, too.
Loya’s response to the media after the game was he’d been overwhelmed. Not by the responsibility that it takes to be a head coach but the logistics of getting to time on practice after battling through traffic to Temple City from his work as a worker’s compensation specialist in Glendale.
“The situation itself never overwhelmed me,” Loya said. “We all shared the responsibility. It’s hard when you’re not a teacher; when you’re not on campus full-time. It makes it difficult for us walk-on coaches to leave the job and to leave for practices on time. It makes it really really hard and that’s what makes it so tough.
“You end up driving all over the place and having to rush things to make it to practice and I’ve been doing that for a long time.”
So what has Loya thought about since he left the field last weekend?
“You ask me if I’ve thought about it and honestly no because I want to get back to my work,” he said. “I’m so backed up. You put your whole heart into it and sometimes you just have to walk away and let it get out of your system.
“You don’t want to think about anything. I didn’t watch any of the games over the weekend. I just tried to watch movies and nothing to do with football. after football I’m just burned out.”
And then there’s his girlfriend and their 8-month-old daughter, Gabriela.
“You miss those important times,” said Loya who resides with his girlfriend in Pasadena. “By the time I get home she’s sleeping already. I missed some good times with her.”
No doubt your heart has to be into it. Who can doubt Loya’s isn’t? But the truth is he has sacrificed a lot, especially in the last five or six weeks since taking over Randy Backus.
When asked if he’d ever see himself coaching again there wasn’t the slightest hesitation.
“I would never see myself anywhere else but Temple City,” Loya said. “I can never say never. I do see myself coaching again. if something else comes up I’ll never say never. it just doesn’t make sense right now, though.”
It’s been apparent the admiration toward Loya from coaches, players, fans, strangers and even the media. He’s earned praise from opposing coaches, including Paraclete coach Norm Dahlia. Loya is taken aback by the admiration.
“It is surprising and new but I have to say I am honored to have people say certain things about you,” he said. “It makes you feel good. I never try to talk down on anybody and answer things as honest as possible and if people say nice things about you it makes you feel great. Over the last few weeks people have been real supportive and it feels really good.”
It’s hard to believe but Loya, 40, first started coaching nearly 20 years ago at his alma mater, Glendale High School.
People everywhere have told Loya they couldn’t believe he wouldn’t coach again. But coaching is in Loya’s blood. Even his mother, who is pushing 80, is telling him he needs to get back out on the field.
But for now he’ll spend more time with his girlfriend and of course with Gabriela. It’s those times you never get back you have to savor now. When he’s not with the two ladies in his life he’ll be golfing and getting away from football for the time being.
Soon, we’ll know more about Loya and whether he’ll continue at Temple City where he’s 5-1-1 as an interim coach.
If he comes back, great. But if he doesn’t no doubt that after a memorable run to the semifinals he’s already left a lasting impression.