Muir High School has named former standout player and last year’s defensive coordinator John Hardy its new head varsity football head coach, replacing Ken Howard, who was placed on leave during the 2011 season after an alleged incident on campus with a student.
Hardy, a 1986 graduate of Muir, played under the late great Jim Brownfield and was a key memeber of the Mustangs 1985 CIF championship team. Hardy later played in college at Cal and then in the pros with the Chicago Bears.
“I’m excited about it and up to the challenge,” said Hardy, who will be a walk-on coach. “We have to get started because we’re a little behind right now. My priority right now is to get on this campus and make sure our kids are doing what they’ve got to do on the student part of the athlete side.
“We need to make sure we’re in the classroom and doing what we’ve got to do, because we can’t get them on the field unless they’re eligible. That’s my first task.”
It’s been a disastrous year for Muir’s athletic department. It started with Howard being placed on leave. Then, boys basketball coach Gamal Smalley resigned last week after being placed on leave due to a situation that revolved around the Mustangs basketball team forfeiting 20 games and missing the playoffs because of ineligible player.
School athletic director Ruben Galvan has also been temporarily relieved of his duties pending an investigation by the school district. And just last week it was announced that Principal Sheryl Orange would be ousted at the end of the school year.
“I think the repair job starts with results,” Hardy said. “Being from the community and having been involved in the community, I need to get our kids to understand they need to become role models for the younger kids. We need to reach out to the community and let them know what John Muir should be and will become.
“It’s not going to be an easy road because some trust factor has been lost with the school. Our players and coaches need to get back out in the community and earn their trust back.”
Hardy said several members of last year’s staff, including interim head coach Dave Mitchell, will be retained. As will Darick Holmes, the father of standout freshman quarterback Darick Holmes Jr.
Bringing back Muir to where Browfield had it when the Mustangs program was thriving is a major goal for Hardy. The new coach will use plenty of what he learned from the old coach to do just that.
“I understand that kids have changed compared to how they were in the past, but I will be bringing a lot of Brownfield’s traditions back to the program and bringing the integrity back to the way he had it,” Hardy said. “That’s a big goal of mine.”
Aram’s take: Hardy sounds like just what the Mustangs need. Having played under Brownfield (and Mike Ditka) it’s a good bet the man knows the sport and knows how to build a winning product. It’s good hear guys like Mitchell and Holmes will be back on the staff. If Hardy can draw on some of the Brownfield magic, then perhaps the Stangs can get back some of that Brownfield winning.
Alhambra—>Lou Torres—>Joe Kanach
Baldwin Park—>James Heggins—>OPEN
Bassett—>Aubrey Duncan—>Hector Spathias
Bonita—>Eric Podley—>Adrian Medrano
Covina—>Darryl Thomas—->Joe Brown
Duarte—>Tip Sanders—>Jason Martin
El Rancho—>Rick Zepeda—>Venencio Lopez
Glendora—>Todd Quinsey—>Jerry Lewallen
La Canada—>Dan Yoder—>OPEN
Mountain View—>James Wilson—>OPEN
Muir—>Ken Howard—>John Hardy
Rosemead—>Matt Koffler—>Marc Paramo
Santa Fe—>Jack Mahlstede—>Dave Pierson
Schurr—>Ben Negrete—>Marco Ramirez
South Hills—>Steve Bogan—>Albert Rodriguez
St. Paul—>Marijon Ancich—>Elijah Asante
Whittier—>Walter Scott—>Visko Ancich
Wilson—>Bob Burt—>Nick Christos
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