Football: Torres named new Alhambra football coach

LOU TORRES AT A GLANCE

*Played under Gil Ruedaflores at Salesian High
*1974-1983 Assistant to Ruedaflores at Salesian High
*1984-1988 running backs coach at Glendale College
*1989-present assistant head coach, offensive coordinator, athletic director at Alhambra High

Turned out Alhambra High School didn’t have to look far for its next head football coach.

Lou Torres, a familiar face on campus since he began teaching there in 1989, was offered the job Monday and he accepted. Alhambra Principal Brad Walsh and Jeremy Infranca, vice principal in charge of activities, confirmed the news and made the official announcement Tuesday.

Torres takes over for his longtime mentor and friend, Gil Ruedaflores, who retired at season’s end. Ruedaflores was at the helm for 21 seasons.

Torres’ distinguished career spanning 35 years led him to Alhambra after playing under Ruedaflores at Salesian and later coaching alongside him. Torres followed Ruedaflores to Glendale Community College where they led four All-Americans to four Bowl games and an appearance in a national championship game. Torres followed Ruedaflores to Alhambra and took on the capacity of assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. Alhambra’s principal at the time, Frank Cano, talked to Torres about the head position, but Torres said he felt he wasn’t ready yet.

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“The right decision was to have Gil come in,” Torres said. “To me that was the best move Mr. Cano could have made.”

Torres teaches special education and also holds the position of co-athletic director with Jerry De Santis, the school’s head track coach. Torres is expected to ultimately relinquish his co-athletic director title, but no decision has yet been made.

San Gabriel assistant Jude Oliva and Temple City assistant Zeke Prado were the other two in-district candidates who applied and interviewed for the job last week. Torres, however, was the obvious choice from the start.

“I think the other candidates did an outstanding job in presenting themselves and have a bright future in coaching,” Infranca said. “But Lou made the most sense for us based upon his long career of success, not only at this school but at others as well. He’s a respected member of our school community and the city itself, and even though he’s worked along Gil (Ruedaflores) for a long time I’m very confident he’ll put his own staple in the program.”

Torres said he will re-evaluate the staff currently in place, and added he would contact Oliva and Prado.

“I talked to Jude the day of the interview and told him no matter what happens I would get in contact, the same with Zeke,” Torres said. “They’re both fine coaches.”

Manny Ruedaflores, Gil’s son, will concentrate on finishing school after his son, Moors quarterback Darrian Cazarin, graduates. Defensive line coach Pat Zabala, defensive backs coach Jacob Ochoa and quarterbacks coach John Zabala rounds out the staff.

“I think there’s a couple of things I’m looking for in the sense of commitment and time,” Torres said. “There’s an awful lot of our staff that’s working and going to school. I will require from my assistant coaches dedication to be there when I expect them to be there. The entire staff is going to be new. Whether anyone comes back, their roles will be defined.”

Torres already has a jump on what offense he’ll run next season – the Wing-T.

“I’m a Wing-T, double wing coach,” he said. “But I’ll modify it and adjust it to what kids we have. The Wing-T offense is one of the most difficult to defend in high school football. At the same time in 1994 with the same Wing-T offense I ran a wide open set and passed for 2,000 yards. You have to realize Darrian will graduate and no one else has taken a varsity snap in three years.”

miguel.melendez@sgvn.com

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