Bonita coach Eric Podley resigns, assistant coach Adrian Medrano takes over … but there’s a twist …

Bonita High School football head coach Eric Podley resigned on Monday, with the school naming 27-year-old special teams coordinator Adrian Medrano as his replacement.

Podley, who was head coach at Bonita for 12 years and won two league titles and coached the Bearcats to the 2010 CIF-SS Southeast Division championship game, will remain on the varsity staff as offensive coordinator under Medrano. Longtime defensive coordinator Ray Medina was also retained.

“The workload of being a full-time classroom teacher, athletic director and head coach seemed like it was expanding each year and something had to give at some point, and so I decided the head coach football job would be the one to go,” Podley said. “It was something I definitely thought about it, especially last year when I got so sick. An illness like that can make you reassess some of your priorities in life.”

Podley struggled through the ’10 season with an infection in his back that caused him limited mobility and ultimately led to surgery soon after the season ended. He was back at full strength this season and guided a young Bonita team to the playoffs for the ninth time in his 12 years. Of the three times Bonita missed the postseason under Podley, two of them came due to being on the short end of coin flips.

Podley and Medina groomed Medrano to become head coach since his arrival at Bonita four years ago. Medrano was previously an assistant coach at San Dimas.

“When we brought him over from San Dimas, that was the plan that he was going to be the next guy,” Podley said. “He’s at a spot now where he was either going to move up or we were going to have to push him out the door to become the head coach somewhere else.”

Medrano will enjoy the luxury of a staff that remains intact with only the roles changing. But still, he knows that the pressure will be on him to prove he can handle the challenge of leading one of the area’s better programs at such a young age.

“It’s a big opportunity and some big shoes to fill,” Medrano said. “There’s no other place I’d rather be right now than Bonita. I’m excited about it. It’s a program with rich tradition and expects to win. That’s the kind of place I want to be.

“The first thing I wanted to take over was the coaching staff. I’m fortunate enough to not only have Podley back, but the entire coaching staff. It’s definitely a big challenge and I’m confident I can step up to the challenge. The game of football has been part of my life since I was a little kid. I’ve surrounded myself with people who know the game. And every single day, I’m trying to learn something. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Aram’s take: As you’ll recall, I reported last spring that Podley was thinking about stepping down then … that he may have been angling to become to offensive coordinator at Glendora under then-coach Todd Quinsey. He was very close to doing just that, so this move shouldn’t surprise you. The great news for Bonita fans is that the staff remains the same with a couple people simply wearing new hats. Medrano is a football junkie. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. He’s young and that’s always dangerous, but he’s been mentored well and has done a great job so far … think back to the kickoffs in the ’10 Southeast Division championship that West Covina couldn’t handle. That was Medrano’s troops kicking short. So, he’s pretty clever. This should work out well in the end.

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  • Aaron

    All I can say is wow.

  • Pendleton

    Love you coach it will all work out for Bonita
    Let’s go Bearcats next season it’s our time

  • Theranch

    Congrats boomer! You have made The Ranch proud!

  • Bearcats rule!!!!

    Podley is still the AD and OC and Medina is the DC. Don’t really know if this means anything.

  • Phase 1

    This is a transition year. Phase 2 Podely will be gone after 1 year. Phase 3 coaching school in the valley with more talent.
    Aram I told Aaron you were correct last year and he once again speaking without the right knowledge. letting his emotions get the best of him. Silly young buck.
    As for Boomer not sure appreciates his claim to fame being kickoffs. In any case he still has a lot to prove but I wish him luck.

  • Coach Slayer

    One of the worst kept secrets in the SGV with many more to come. We will miss you Podley but you will be still close by. A head coach in high school is far more than just stratagy, it is tact, politics and restraint. I have yet to meet a 27 year old coach who can exibit these qualities when put under pressure but I’am more than willing to give coach M a chance. He has worked hard and though young, paid his dues so good luck young man.

  • X’s and O’s

    Coach Podley is a stand up man and what I see hear is total loyalty on both ends. Although I’ve made negative references towards coach Medrano in the past, I will give him his fair share of respect here. He deserves it especially when he has earned the backing of a guy like Podley.
    Even though Podley and Medina will be there, it will be Medrano running the show. I have gotten to know him personally and he is definitely a hands on kind of guy and Aram is correct when he calls him a “football junkie.” He is truly a kind young gentlemen and although I didn’t see him as being the best political fit for Bonita because he can be pretty brash, I will give him the benefit of the doubt. I think Bonita will be just fine.

  • Medrano is Pinocchio and Podley is Geppetto holding the strings. Why would any new head coach want the old one to be peeking over his shoulder. My take is its just a name change.

  • Podley your still the man you will always be a bearcat

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