By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
Expect the Pasadena High School football team to be fast this fall.
It’s what Randy Horton knows and expects and what he said the Bulldogs have been working on all spring. Horton was approved to coach the football team by the Pasadena Unified School District last month.
He replaces Mike McFarland, who went 5-5 in his only year with the Bulldogs. McFarland has taken over at Temple City. Horton was an assistant coach at Temple City last season under Anthony White, who was with the Rams for only one season.
“We’re going to be up-tempo,” Horton said. “We’re treating this like a college program because we want the kids to get used to that.”
Horton was the speed coach for former UCLA coach DeWayne Walker. The 40-year-old has also been a personal trainer for NFL players and those who have participated in the NFL combine. Some of the players he has worked with include Arizona defensive back Matt Ware and St. Louis linebacker K.C. Asiodu.
This will be the first time he has been a head coach. After Walker, who coached Horton at Mt. SAC, left UCLA in 2007, Horton became the defensive coordinator at Pasadena in ’08 and then was the strength and conditioning coach at Temple City last season. He also was an assistant coach at Pasadena in ’05 and ’06. He was a finalist for the Pasadena position when McFarland got the job.
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“The kids have seen me around,” he said. “They know me. The kids are doing well at learning what we want to do and learning my style.”
That means the Bulldogs have done a lot of agility work and running during spring practice.
Horton played football at Oregon State and for two years with the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League. He was a cornerback and also played some safety. A knee injury ended his playing career.
Horton will handle the defense and Brian Cox, who also was at Temple City last season, will be the offensive coordinator. He will coach his son, sophomore quarterback Brandon, who has transferred from Temple City.
The offense will include pro-set and what Horton termed “a mixture” of offensive sets.
Addison Hawthorne, who also coached at Temple City last season, will be an assistant under Horton this year. Hawthorne was the Bulldogs’ track and field coach this past spring.
Pasadena went 4-3 in the Pacific League last season, losing to Muir 34-12 in the Turkey Tussle that knocked it out of a potential CIF-Southern Section playoff berth. The Bulldogs finished fourth in the league.
The Bulldogs lost 26 players from that team.
“This year we’ll be young,” Horton said. “We have a good group of guys, but the advantage I have is that because they are young we can get them to do our type of program. That’s a really big step when stepping into the program.”