Football: Horton takes over as new Pasadena coach

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.


“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.”

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    Starting to wonder if the head coach position at PHS is turning into a permanent temporary position; coach in, coach out. The students at PHS, or any school in the PUSD, need dedicated coaches ( like Hamilton or Brownfield) who have a plan to develop a winning program; one that may take, believe it or nor, an entire 4 seasons.

    PHS’s program, or the development of its talent, can’t be accomplished in one season. PHS needs to establish a game plan for the long haul – not just a season. It needs to define its football program and stick to it and it needs coaches who will commit to it. Case in point, PHS’s Track & Field program, Basketball and Football programs are legendary thanks to tenured coaches like, Pruitt, Hamilton, Duwe, Terzian and Arthur Large. All coached at PHS for at least 10 years. That may be telling us something.

    Laurence Todd (PHS Alumni Class of 1985)


    PHS has always had good talent roam the halls but lack of leadership has sunk a once proud program. Their biggest challenge this year is to beef up undersized O and D lines that can stop the run and pound the rock with authority.

    PHS preseason – Cathedral, La Salle & LA City Section Quarter-finalist Westchester

  • Someone who knows

    Sorry, It is not going to happen in today’s climate and the way the PUSD is operating nowadays.

    Any coach/teacher rarely wants to stay at an environment such as the PUSD and will move on at the first chance they get.

    The real question is why stay anywhere in the PUSD?

  • PHS Parent

    We also have issues within the school. Take the baseball program, for example. We have a dedicated coach who has been with the program for the last three years. He has turned the baseball program into something. We made the CIF playoffs the last two years in a row. That hasn’t happened at PHS for years, if ever. However, when a PE teaching position opens up at PHS, it is not given to Parisi. I’m sure Parisi would love to stay at PHS, however, if a teaching position is not available, we will need to move on. This is very upsetting as a parent whose son has greatly benefitted from baseball and Parisi in particular.

  • Goldenarm

    Horton was a summer strength coach – not really an “assistant” on White’s staff at TC. The TC kids liked Horton.

    This blows my mind a little – from Miguel’s article – “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.

    I sat in the stands with Brandon’s dad last year. He and his wife are great people and will work hard for the PHS kids. Hindsight is 20/20 – Brandon should have been used differently at TC last year – it could have been the key to at least making playoffs. Few freshman at TC start Varsity (at least in the old days)and throwing in young Cox at safety was a risky propostion at 14 3/4 years old.

    I hope the Dogs have a good O-line – because if they do Brandon will soon be a headline player. He has excellent field vision and is calm under attack. He would have been an instant star at TC this season with the big boys we have on the offensive line.

    I live in Dena and hope the PUSD does not intervene and drain the life any further from the Bulldog program. Best of luck to the Cox family.

  • Yaaaaaaaaawn…..

    Same ol, same ol. Wake me when Pasadena hires a real coach.

  • HS Sports Fan

    Agree with all the others but it will be tough without prior head coaching experience? A head coach must balance the administration, parents, media, coaches as well as the players. It takes maturity and usually tuteledge under a good head coach to develop this balancing act. Another problem is that PHS football has forgotten how to win. The basketball team wins because it has a proud tradition and “all” the aforementioned resources are geared for that purpose.

    Prediction – no playoffs, a 4-6 record and bloogers clammering to get rid of the coach as they did McFarland.

  • Philly B

    I hope things at PHS go well for the new coach and staff! It will be hard, but I think the fans of PHS need to be patient, because it wont happen over night. I think the bulldogs Pre-league schedule is a little rough but maybe that will help them get tough for league play or, it may just be only tough….only time will tell

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  • Michael Agee

    I played football with Randy Horton when he was @ PHS. Randy has great energy, and he is alumni… He would probably take the job for free. Time will tell but I’m sure Randy will give it all he has.

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