San Gabriel names football coach

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
J.D. Thompson, the offensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Long Beach’s Wilson High School last season, was named the head coach at San Gabriel on Monday.
He replaces Jude Oliva, who resigned in December after leading the program for three years.
It will be Thompson’s first stint as a head coach.
“I’m really excited,” Thompson said. “I’m a pretty enthusiastic guy in general and this has been among the best. But the truth be told, I already feel like I am already behind in timing and everything.
“But we have great kids and there is a great opportunity for us.”
Thompson, who played running back and wide receiver for Corona’s Centennial in 1994, has been a coach for 16 years. He coached in in Centennial’s program for 10 years, starting with his first year out of high school when he was 17.
He has also coached at Norte Vista in Riverside, Bellflower and two years at Sage Hill in Newport Beach. He has coached been both an offensive and defensive coordinator.
“I’m a little more of an offensive guy,” the 36-year-old said. “That’s where my head lies. But defense wins championships and I am very particular about my defenses.”
That means the spread, no-huddle offense of Centennial is coming to San Gabriel.
“(Oliva’s offense) was pretty fast, but we’ll be a little faster,” he said. “I’m a Centennial guy. The kids want to have fun and I’m a firm believer in that (type of game). It makes me a firm believer in (the offense).”
Oliva guided the Matadors to a 17-17 record, including a 2011 CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship game berth against Monrovia. San Gabriel went 3-7 last season, 2-3 in the Almont League.
That championship-year run was a big selling point in accepting the position, Thompson said.
“That was a big intriguing factor for me,” he said. “There is talent; I will not be completely rebuilding. I just want to improve on what Jude has done.”
Wilson went 3-7 last season. The Bruins averaged 131.1 yards passing and 180.0 yards rushing in the tough Moore League, which competes in the CIF-SS Pac-5 Division. 626-544-0856

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