Football: Maddox bringing Glory Days back to Monrovia? Legendary coach Steve Garrison says yes, reminisces

It’s hard not to think about what Ryan Maddox has done in less than two years as head coach at Monrovia. Are the glory days back at Monrovia?

Think about it: Monrovia is unbeaten at 5-0 heading into league action; they’re the No. 1-ranked team in the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division; they’re the No. 1-ranked team in the WSGV; and their young studded lineup makes them the favorite to win the Mid-Valley Division championship.

Monrovia’s plummeting opponents to a pulp with little regard, and they’ve done it against two teams (Rosemead, San Dimas) who previously were ranked No. 2 in the division at the time they faced Monrovia.

They’ll take on San Marino on Friday night, the third team the Wildcats face that are ranked No. 2 in the division.

You guys remember the late 90’s when Monrovia made three straight CIF finals appearances in 1997 (vs. Mira Costa), 1998 (Paso Robles) and 1999 (Paso Robles).

In talking with Steve Garrison today it seems that 1998 game still stings and lingers to this day. The Wildcats lost, 24-22, but what made it harder to deal with the loss was knowing Monrovia dropped two passes in the end zone.

There were other good times. Who can forget when Monrovia didn’t lose a Rio Hondo League game from 1996-1999.

Monrovia this season’s yet to accomplish anything and at the very least whatever they have done is subjective.

But you can’t deny they’re an awesome team to watch and they have the makeup of a championship-caliber team. The signs are there — Monrovia’s glory days are looming.

“I don’t think there’s any question about it,” Garrison said. “They’re getting back to where it used to be. Coach Maddox’s done a fantastic job. Him and his staff have put together a championship team. I think they’re certainly on their way, and they’re the team to beat.”

I don’t see Monrovia getting ahead of themselves. Maddox and his staff are much too smart to let it happen.

Since Maddox’s arrival there was discipline from the start on and off the field. That this young squad has maintained humble and remain level-grounded is a testament to Maddox and his coaching staff, which is why I don’t see Monrovia getting ahead of themselves.

Maddox and his staff are much too smart to let it happen. Earlier this week, Maddox stressed the significance of staying humble, and Garrison echoed his sentiments.

“I truly hope Maddox and the Wildcats bring home the school’s first CIF championship,” Garrison said. “As much as I like it in my heart — and I have a lot of Wildcat in my heart — we still have the Rio Hondo League to get through; Temple City, La Caada and San Marino will have a say in it before it’s all over.

“It’s important to stay grounded and realize this is still a one game, one week at a time adventure. If you start getting ahead of yourselves, it can come back to bite you.”

Garrison hasn’t had a chance to watch any Monrovia games this season. Damien’s bye landed the same week as Monrovia’s. But he sees the kids’ excitement filter into Monday after each Friday night victory.

He was in his office when giving me a brief history lesson. He has Monrovia pictures plastered all over his wall, a constant reminder Garrison’s still very much part of the Wildcats football program.

“Without a doubt,” he says. “This was my first head coaching experience. To sit here and say I forget about it … I’d be lying to you.”

The experience went far beyond the gridiron.

“This head coaching experience helped me grow as a coach and also as a man and I just,” said Garrison, before taking a deep breath and continuing, “they’re fond memories I’ll never forget.”

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  • Observantcat

    The Difference from Maddox and Garrison is that on 4th & 1 in their territory, Maddox would go for the jugular whereas Garrison would fold up the tent and say Ok boy’s I now you guy’s are great but I think we should go for the 3 even if we’re down by 4. We had at least 4 championship seasons go down the drain due to bad play calling. Having the best running backs in the game but went for the short pass play to a freshman just didn’t add up. But I think that Garrison will learn from his experience’s and maybe get Damien to the Championship game one day.

  • New York

    I have been critical of Coach Garrison at times, but
    I can say without equivocation that what Coach Garrison accomplished at Monrovia from 1993-1999 was nothing short of amazing. This wasn’t just his first Varsity head coaching experience. This was effectively Garrison’s first varsity experience. That said, we definitely fell short of our potential, but so had just about every Monrovia team since 1982.

    Coach Maddox was able to apprentice under Maggiorie at West Covina for 10 years. Garrison was Monrovia’s freshman coach prior to taking over varsity. In fact, he may have been head frosh coach only one year. Coach Dave Moore was a co-head frosh coach with him before that. Monrovia was atrocious back then. He took over a program that had forgotten how to win. I don’t think Monrovia had won a league game for at least three consecutive years prior to Garrison taking over in 1993. Monrovia missed the playoffs from 1987 until 1994. Why else would we have hired somebody whose coaching resume was mostly on the lower levels? The players had to actually beleive that we could beat teams in league…

    Compared to what Garrison stepped into at Monrovia, Maddox has had only some fine tuning to do, and Maddox has done an unbeleivable job so far and I support Maddox fully. So, maybe Garrison should have left a few years earlier back in 1999-2000. I’m sure he had opportunities to go. Coaching is a grind. Things definitely slid the past few years. It was really an uphill battle for him to put together a staff after the CIF forced him to fire all his assistance following that 1998 season.

    For the record, the score at Paso Robles in 1998 was 24-28.

    Regarding kicking field goals: if you remember correctly, IF we had kicked a couple timely first half field goals against Paso Robles in 1998 we would have won that game or at least been in position to kick a field goal to win at the end. That year our All-CIF kicker, Seth Lewis, had icewater in his veins. He had earned the nickname “Sugarfoot” after icing the last second victory at Diamond Bar. Maybe these missed opportunities haunted the playcalling during the past few years. But maybe having the luxury of Sean Kelley encouraged us to take a sure 3 points.

    At Paso Robles we were winning 24-14 at half time. Hence, we were shut out in the second half AND Paso Robles did not attempt one passing play. Earlier in the first half we got stuffed on fourth and goal when we could have easily collected three points. Sure, our tightend had an opportunity to make a couple catches in the end zone, but that’s life. We also could have run the ball more or had our quarterback scramble for yards more to control the clock better and let our defense rest up those MASSIVE Poso Robles linemen. If we had kicked the field goal earlier in the game then the score would have been 27-28 with Monrovia attempting a game winning field goal rather than throwing for the endzone at the end of the game. There are other things we could have done to win that game, but I don’t feel like re-opening old wounds again. Clearly, Garrison is not the only person who is haunted by that 1998 game…

    For the life of me, I don’t know why we had to play that game on Paso Robles home field that was effectively a horse pasture. I wish our AD had put his foot down and at least demanded to play almost anywhere else in San Luis Obispo county. If that game had been played at Citrus (like the ’99 game), Monrovia would have won huge.

    Anyway, we probably would not have gotten a coach of Maddox’s calliber if not for the work that Garrison had done building the program.

  • formerram

    i remeber those monrovia teams…… they where hard to beat. and that paso team was a beast. i don’t think these kids will play against that same caliber of opponents. but non the less this years squad he really whopping up on teams without a doubt.

  • Goldenarm

    I remember the furor of the last couple years of Coach Garrison’s tenure as M-town coach, in particular, the play calling O-cat mentions, among other things that inflamed the Monrovia faithful. A change was definitely needed. However, as described so eloquently by New York, Garrison did accomplish some amazing things at MHS, and field many teams that lit up the TC/M-town cross town rivalry and blood feud that still exist today. Every year, it is the Monrovia / Temple City match up that means most to me. The “better” team never matters in my mind, it is the effort that gets laid down on the field. Part of this feeling lives on solely because of the years of history behind the rivalry and all those players and coaches that came before.

    Garrison’s praise and comments on Coach Maddox seal the deal on the positive character of the former Wildcat head man.

  • Dan

    New York,
    That is some great history you wrote about, props to Steve Garrison for his accomplishments and getting this program rolling. I’m glad for coach Maddox and
    appreciate his humility, sure do miss him over here at WC, not that we don’t have good coaches cause our coaches are great people over here. Good to hear his humility is trickling down to the players, it will keep them respectful and it will keep them discipline.
    Good luck Maddox and Wildcats, bring home the cif ring. Dan from West Co.

    PS there is a new Dan on the Bueno thread that isn’t me, could get confusing.

  • Desert Rat

    Said it week 0 and still feel it now…the Mid-Valley goes through Rovia this year.

  • Brad

    I go back a little farther to the class of 1975. We didn’t lose a league game between 1971-1975 and lost in the finals to Cresenta Valley in 1973 (Score was 14-7) even though we were clearly the better team. Could have tied with PKT or perhaps won game with 2-point conversion at the end but a wide open pass on a tackle-eligible play was dropped on 4th down. Hard to believe that M-town has never won a title. Hopefully that will change this year.

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