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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