Pike named Fontana football coach

Longtime assistant coach Tim Pike, who has spent the last two years assisting at Citrus Valley, was named the Fontana football coach this week, information that Pike confirmed this morning.

This isn’t the first go-round for Pike, 61, at Fohi. Pike was an assistant coach for the Steelers from 2002-04 before taking over as interim head coach for Joe Kramer during the 2005 season. Fontana went 0-9 under Pike and hired Lance Ozier, who coached Fohi the last five seasons, prior to the 2006 season.

“This isn’t anything new to me,” Pike said. “I coached here before and it wasn’t very successful. The reason I took it now was that the kids needed somebody and for me, this is my last shot. After I take off the whistle here I’ll never coach again.”

Pike, a U.S. History teacher at Fohi, also allowed the school to not have to hire an off-campus coach. With the budget crisis in the Fontana Unified School District making new teacher hires a virtual impossibility, Pike felt that he was best person to take the job and provide the proper amount of time with it.

“I looked around and saw that I was the only person with a teaching position on campus that could do this job,” Pike said. “I didn’t want these young kids to have to suffer with a walk-on coach. The district is laying off teachers left and right – there was no way they’d be able to hire a new coach from outside and get them a teaching position.”

As far as his goals for the job, Pike – who has been a head coach at Sutter High School and assisted at places such as Claremont, Bishop Amat and Needles in a career that dates to 1972 – just wants to get the Steelers back to respectable position. And not just in the minds of the teams they play.

“I want these kids to respect themselves and I want the community to respect the efforts they are making on the field,” Pike said. “I want good students and good athletes who will go out there and line up and play hard against everybody.”