Above: Assistant coach Stephanie Hernandez (black shirt).
Hilda Valencia, who spent three seasons as head coach of the San Marino softball program, stepped down at the end of the season to continue her education. She said she’s looking into finishing her B.A. in sports medicine at San Diego State. In her time at San Marino, Valencia compiled a 36-31 record (17-11 in league) and enjoyed her most successful season last year when the Titans finished 18-7 overall and 9-3 in the Rio Hondo League. San Marino that year also reached the quarterfinals where they lost to Whittier Christian, 1-0.
Andrew Gayl, who recently took over as athletic director, said the school re-opened position another six weeks in an attempt to draw more candidates.
“We’d heard that about 15 to 20 people were interested but when we looked online (EdJoin) there were only like five or six,” Gayl said. “We actually re-opened the position for another six weeks in hopes we would find more people. Ideally we’d do some interviews in the middle of August towards the start of the school year.”
Gayl, who also said the school is looking for a new girls tennis coach after first-year coach Ron Machuca took another position at South Pasadena, said the softball coach would serve as a walk-on.
Valencia said she enjoyed her brief time at San Marino for various reasons.
“The first year was the toughest because I came in late and didn’t have much time to prepare,” said Valencia, who went 4-15 and 1-11 in league her first season. “But the experience to prepare was awesome. We had a banquet and I told them they were pretty much my therapy. As soon as I walked up the field and heard their voices it just kind of changed my day entirely. My administration was great, they were behind me in any decision I made. The parents were extremely helpful. I can’t really complain.”
Valencia added that assistant Stephanie Hernandez has “absolutely” expressed interest in taking over the program.
“She has to go through the entire process like when I first applied,” Valencia said. “But absolutely she’s interested.”
Whoever takes over the program will have one of the marquee pitchers in all of the San Gabriel Valley in junior-to-be Michelle Floyd as well as standout shortstop Alexis Watanabe, who will be a senior next year. Floyd and Watanabe are two-time Star-News All-Area first-team selections.