By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer
There’s a brotherhood among high school football coaches that’s hard to explain but easy to understand. It’s why Monrovia football coach Ryan Maddox has a few rooting interests in this coming weekend’s CIF-Southern Section football championship games.
It’s no secret where the third-year Wildcats coach will be Friday. Maddox will settle on the West Covina sideline and root for the Bulldogs when they take on Bonita in the Southeast Division championship game at Walnut High.
That night, Maddox likely will be more than curious to hear how Corona Centennial is doing against Vista Murrieta in the Inland Division title game.
It’ll only feel like a long day Saturday when Monrovia meets Whittier Christian in the Mid-Valley Division championship game at Arcadia High. Later that night, Maddox will see about possibly catching Servite in the Pac-5 Division title game against Mission Viejo at Angel Stadium. That game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net and replayed throughout the week.
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Maddox taught at West Covina High for a decade and coached alongside West Covina football coach Mike Maggiore for 12 seasons. It was Maggiore who gave Maddox his first opportunity coaching high school football, first as a junior varsity head coach. Maddox quickly rose through the ranks, from coaching receivers and quarterbacks to defensive coordinator.
Maggiore is more than a mentor, though. He’s a lifelong friend. Maggiore was in Maddox’s wedding when he tied the knot with wife Veronica, who’s now an assistant principal at West Covina.
Maggiore’s not the only tie, however. Maddox still is close with the rest of the West Covina coaching staff.
“I know the people there very well,” he said. “They’re good friends of mine.”
Maddox’s adoption of the no-huddle offense came midway through this season, but grasping the concept came in the form of an offseason course from Corona Centennial’s coaching staff.
“I have a friend who knows (Corona Centennial coach) Matt (Logan) really well,” Maddox said. “I asked if he’d approach him and ask if he’d be willing to sit down with us because we’d love to come over and talk.”
“He was gracious enough to let us visit,” Maddox said. “He showed us their weight room, how they go about practicing and we watched offseason practices.
“We just sat down with them and they were open with how they run their no- huddle offense.”
Corona Centennial executes the offense better than anybody and finished as the Inland Division’s top seed with a 14-0 record.
Maddox was one of three finalists Monrovia interviewed for the job when he applied in 2007. He’s 34-6 in three seasons at Monrovia with three Rio Hondo League championships, a Mid-Valley Division semifinal appearance his first season and finals appearances the last two seasons.
His services, however, came close to never being on the market.
During a football clinic in Irvine Maddox, defensive coordinator at West Covina at the time, walked up to Servite coach Troy Thomas to introduce himself.
“We just happened to be in the same place at the same time,” Maddox recalled. “I walked up to him and said, `Hey, you’re Troy Thomas, right?’ ”
Thomas had just finished his first season coaching the Friars, who last season won the Pac-5 Division and CIF state championship.
Thomas at the time was looking for a defensive coordinator. Maddox made quite an impression during their encounter and Thomas invited him to sit down and talk about possibly joining his staff.
“I went through the process of sitting down with Troy Thomas, and he was nice enough to offer me a position there (at Servite),” Maddox recalled.
The logistics, however, didn’t work in Maddox’s favor. He still would have been teaching at West Covina, and the drive to Anaheim eventually would have taken its toll on him and his then-expecting wife.
“It was a little more than I felt I could handle at the time,” Maddox said. “I discussed with him I was looking to be a head coach. It was the following year or year after that I ended up at Monrovia.”
On Monday, during the CIF football luncheon at The Grand in Long Beach, Thomas walked over to Monrovia’s table and shook hands with Maddox.
“I just wanted to walk over and wish you good luck for Saturday,” Thomas said.
Not far across the room sat Logan and Maggiore. As it turned out, Maddox wanted to surround himself with the best so he could learn from the best, and, possibly, even work for the best.
It took gracious coaches to give Maddox a chance, which is all the explanation needed to understand the brotherhood among high school football coaches.