Add another to the Valley’s list of coaching resignations this offseason.
Baldwin Park coach James Heggins resigned on Tuesday, citing a difference in opinion with the school’s administration as to the direction of the program.
“It was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done, to stand in front of my guys and tell them that what my decision was and let them know it wasn’t their fault,” Heggins said. “Those guys had worked their tails off and did everything I’ve ever asked of them.
“It was purely a choice that I made that was something better for my family. Maybe one day when those guys have a family they’ll understand that the choices you make as an adult have to keep your family first and foremost.”
Heggins, a 1993 graduate of Baldwin Park who played at Mt. SAC and San Diego St., returned to his took over at his alma mater in 2005 after the school had gone 3-27 in its previous three seasons under Rick Ward 4-16 in its previous two seasons under Rick Ward.
The Braves made the playoffs in Heggins’ first year, won a share of the Valle Vista League title in 2007 and reached the postseason in five of Heggins’ seven seasons. Heggins overall at the school was 41-35.
“I never played a down in the time that I coached here,” Heggins said. “I tried to give all the credit to the kids. From the day I got here, the kids that we had committed to working hard and doing the things that it took to win football games. They deserve the credit for that.”
Heggins will remain a teacher at Baldwin Park and has accepted a position at Mt. SAC coaching the corner backs.
Aram’s take: Sad to see Coach Heggins go. You just knew that the district didn’t get it last year when it failed to hire Jim Arellanes for a PE job, allowing him to be an assistant on Heggins’ staff. That left Heggins to call the plays ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BALL for much of the season! From where the Braves program was when Heggins took over to where he took them was nothing short of a minor miracle. I’m not just talking wins and losses either. And it only happened because Heggins knew his alma mater and the type of kids who go there better than anyone. He took amazing pride in ownership of the program. He had things like an alumni game. He had former UCLA offensive coordinator and BP alum Michael Johnson out on occasion to help with certain events. Another example of what a great job that Heggins did is current Utah St. starting offensive tackle Oscar Molina-Sanchez, who was the first Latino player from BP to ever earn a D-1 scholarship.
Former Damien and Los Altos assistant coach Lee Fair was named defensive coordinator at Wilson on Tuesday, according to a source.
Fair was most recently defensive coordinator for three seasons at Damien for head coach Greg Gano. He was let go following this past season. Prior to that, Fair was with Gano at Los Altos where he was the architect of four CIF championship-winning defenses.
Fair has prior experience at Wilson and will work under new Wildcats coach Nick Christos.
Aram’s take: Pretty nice grab for the ‘Cats. Fair has a lot of experience in The Heights. True, Damien had some costly breakdowns defensively in 2011, but Fair’s overall body of work speaks for itself.
UPDATE: This event was canceled, not because it’s the first Saturday of the NCAA Tournament, but because Duarte’s team has signed to be in another tournament that day.
New Duarte football coach Jason Martin and former Duarte football coach Wardell Crutchfield Jr. are hosting the first passing tournament of the young offseason on Saturday, Mar. 17 at Duarte High.
Any interested coaches/teams from the SGV are encouraged to participate. Any interested players whose teams are not going to participate are encouraged to show up and they will be placed on a team made up of players without teams.
Recently, Martin and Crutchfield have been hosting free Saturday workouts for players from all over the area. They’ve been averaging between 50-60 players a week and the workouts focus on fundamentals before breaking off into 7-on-7 work.
The Mar. 17 tournament will start at 9 a.m. with a round robin action, then there will be a break for lunch and a knockout tournament will take place in the afternoon after lunch.
Aram’s take: **CANCELED** This is a great idea for those of us who are jonesing for some action. And given the new year-around policy with CIF teams don’t have to sweat any rules violations. From what I gather, this will be a very informal tournament, but will certainly benefit any teams/players trying to get some work in early.
Aram’s take: I’m already hearing chatter about this game in a lot of the places I go … and it’s only February. I think it may be a good idea to get both schools to agree to move this game to a Saturday night. Thursday would be OK, too. But I think Saturday would be the way to go because the crowd would be monstrous and quite possibly the attendance will be like something you might have seen in the 80s or early 90s. I’m not saying the site should be moved. I don’t feel that way at all. Charter Oak hosts it first and who can blame them for wanting the gate all to themselves? Same with Amat in ’13. I say keep it at CO and play it on Saturday. As a side note, I kinda wonder what Chino Hills is thinking. They open with Amat and nobody is talking about that. The Huskies could spoil everything and do what Charter Oak is hoping to do — give the Valley’s D-1 program a message that divisions don’t matter … when you’re good, you’re good. I applaud Amat for putting CH and CO on the schedule this year.
All-Area linebacker Justin Fa’aola of Los Altos will play in Saturday’s Polynesian All-American Bowl in Long Beach.
Fa’aola played running back and linebacker this past season and was instrumental in the Conquerors’ turnaround season.
Saturday’s game is at noon at Long Beach Veteran’s Stadium.
Aram’s take: This game should be off the hook. As most of you should know by now, The Fat Man has much love for the islanders. Their impact on the game cannot understated. I love the dances and their psychotic play … and then afterward they’re the nicest, soft-spoken peeps you’d ever want to meet.
Los Altos’ Dale Ziola (East) and San Gabriel’s Jude Oliva (West) have been selected as the head coaches for the 2011 National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame All-Star Game to be played June 22 at West Covina High School.
The organization also announced that it will resume with scholar athlete awards dinner at Brookside Country Club in Pasadena on Mar. 27. The awards dinner has not happened the past two one years following the death of former San Gabriel Valley chapter president Jim Brownfield.
New San Gabriel Valley chapter president Tony Ortega and vice president/game organizer Leon Ward have worked hard to resume with the awards dinner and have pulled it off. Nominations to area football coaches have been sent out and the Hall of Fame committee will honor around 25 players at the dinner.
Coaches and athletic directors are urged to nominate any football players with a 3.0 or higher grade-point average that feel is deserving.
This year’s all-star game has been moved up a week due to the earlier start to next football season under the new CIF schedule.
Oliva led San Gabriel to a 9-5 record, the Almont League championship and a runner-up finish in the Mid-Valley Division.
Ziola turned around Los Altos’ program in his first season by taking a program that went 0-10 in 2010 to the second round of the Southeast Division playoffs. Los Altos finished 8-4.
Aram’s take: Great choices. Oliva and Ziola certainly turned in amazing seasons and both figure to approach this June’s game with their trademark fire. Also good to see the awards dinner back on. The Hall of Fame has always done a great job honoring our local football scene.
UPDATED: Tell me this is a joke. Tell me it cannot be true that a team that just gave up 84 points in the Southeast Division championship against West Covina has put Westlake and Corona Centennial Norco on next year’s nonleague schedule.
BY THE WAY: A commenter named “Steely Don” on Stevie R.’s blog had the comment of the young year so far about this item …
Steely Don said:
It’s the STADIUM, guys: after seeing what an awesome experience everyone had at the championship game, those D-1 teams are LINING UP for the chance to play on Hawes St.
Covina quarterback Billy Livingston has filed his application to attend Cal-Lutheran and play quarterback for the Kingsmen.
Livingston took his official visit to Cal-Lutheran last week and roomed with former Monrovia standout QB Nick Bueno, who is now a receiver at Cal-Lu. Livingston liked what he saw and heard and decided to give it a go.
Cal-Lu was ranked No. 8 in the nation in D-3 last year. The school does not offer athletic scholarships, but through grants and aid, they can make it very doable for their athletes.
Aram’s take: Congrats to The Kid. He will have to compete with two seniors this coming season, but after that, he could become the man.
Tribune Offensive Player of the Year Travis Santiago signed with APU on Friday.
The Charter Oak quarterback is going to also play baseball for the Cougars. Santiago threw for 3,251 yards and 27 touchdowns. He also ran for 552 yards and 11 scores.
Aram’s take: Atta boy, Travis! Now we’re talking! Get me Rivera to APU and I will be on Clound Nine. Anyway, Santiago playing in the SGV’s backyard is going to be a treat. I’ve got a feeling he’s going to do some serious damage at APU.