After 25 years coaching football at the school including the last 15 years as a head coach at Apple Valley High School, Frank Pulice has decided to call it quits. He told his team Tuesday.
“With all the stuff I’ve gone through (physically) in the last 10 years, I think it’s starting to effect me mentally,” Pulice said. “I”m getting physically and mentally wore out. I’m burned out. It’s time for me to go.”
Pulice, 48, a Covina High graduate, first came to Apple Valley as an assistant coach in 1990, he has been there the last 25 seasons as a coach.
He also spent a decade from 1992-2002 as head wrestling coach and is currently the boys golf coach, a position he will retain.
In 15 years as head coach, he compiled a 71-88 overall record, but was 59-49 in the last 10 years. He did not win any league titles, but made the playoffs eight times, including five of the last six years.
Pulice is proudest of other things he accomplished at the school, however, such as stressing academics. In nine of the 15 years, Pulice said, Apple Valley had a 3.0 team GPA or higher and in 2011, the Sun Devils ranked sixth among large CIF-SS schools in team GPA with a 3.14 mark. He said the average GPA was 2.98.
“One of the greatest things is to see these kids alleviate themselves of the jock stereotype,” he said.
How would he like to be remembered?
“Mainly how I molded the young men, with discipline and character,” he said. “I’ve always had a disciplined football team.”
Pulice has had multiple surgeries or procedures in recent years. He’s had both hips replaced, three knee surgeries, and had cervical fusion surgery on his neck in 2010. Early this season, he needed to go back in for a procedure when it was discovered one of the screws from the 2010 surgery was against his esophagus.
“I thought about what price am I going to pay to keep coaching,” Pulice said. “And when I coach, I’m hands on.”
He would not rule out coaching as an assistant in the future, but does not plan on coaching anywhere other than Apple Valley.
“One of the hardest things is the kids I’m leaving,” he said. “I can honestly say I won’t be leaving Apple Valley High School. I love Apple Valley High School.”
Pulice was also proud of the stability in his coaching staff. Matt Rohrbaugh, T.J. Carpino, Robert Meras and Larry Friday have all been on Pulice’s staff for the last 11 years.
But, if they stay, they’ll be coaching with someone else.
“In reality of it all, it’s just time,” Pulice said.