PASADENA — Pasadena High School finally has its man.
The school named Doug Bledsoe its new varsity football head coach on Thursday afternoon ending what’s been an interesting search for a replacement to Randy Horton, who resigned in December after three seasons at the school.
“For me, this is an investment,” Bledsoe said. “It’s an investment in the community and for my family. I have a son right now who’s in the fourth grade and he’s going to be a linebacker.
“A dream of mine is to coach him right here at Pasadena High School, so I’m definitely in it for the long haul.”
Bledsoe was most recently the head coach at North Hollywood High where he turned around a program that was 1-9 the season before he took over and went 6-5 last season and reached the playoffs.
Bledsoe inherits a Bulldogs program that went 1-9 last season and hasn’t been competitive in The Turkey Tussle against rival Muir. Beating the Mustangs is at the top of his to-do list.
“Our objective is definitely to ring the bell at the end of the season,” Bledsoe said. “We feel that we have the pieces here to get it done. It’s a matter of getting the kids to believe.
“I know it’s been too long since we rang the bell. It’s been 16 or 17 years and that’s much too long. It’s not a rivalry unless both teams are winning. By the end of the year, it will be a big-time rivalry.”
The Bulldogs reportedly thought they had their next head coach earlier this month when it was reported by another local newspaper/website that former UCLA assistant coach Eric Scott had been hired to replace Horton, according to a unnamed school source.
The story later changed, citing Pasadena Unified School District Director of Communication Adam Wolfson, who said Scott was not hired after the school completed a background check.
Before Bledsoe can think about achieving one of his stated goals of winning a state championship, he must first figure out how to keep the local talent home and away from private schools that have been bankrolling their programs by looting the area of its top players.
“We believe that some of the best talent in the state of California is right here in Pasadena,” Bledsoe said. “We want to be able to keep that talent home. Of course, winning solves everything. When you’re winning, everyone loves you. We’re going to get that going this season.
“What we want to show all these parents and student athletes is that your child can be developed here and moved on to the next level.”
Bledsoe already has a staff in mind and is just awaiting principal’s approval. Several members of the staff will consist of former head coaches.
Bledsoe grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from Dorsey High in 1987. He began his coaching career in 1995 as an assistant at Marshall High in Portland, Ore. He later moved on the junior college ranks and had stops at Pierce, West L.A., Compton and Pasadena City College before winding up at his alma mater Glendale College in 2009.
Bledsoe lives in Chatsworth with his wife and three children. He will be a walk-on coach at Pasadena, which did not offer a full-time teaching job with the position. He’s currently working toward a masters’ degree in special education.