Gano turns down Etiwanda job … now what?

Four-time CIF champion coach Greg Gano turned down the Etiwanda on Friday and will continue to explore other options.

Gano, who resigned earlier this month from Damien and has previous stints at Northview and Los Altos, was a finalist for the Etiwanda job along with former San Dimas coach Roland DeAnda and former Colony assistant Jason Smith.

Sources within the Chaffey Joint Union High School District are still adamant that former Colony head coach and current Chino Hills assistant Matt Bechtel also remains a possibility. Bechtel told the Daily Bulletin’s Clay Fowler that he has not applied for the position, however.

Stay tuned …

St. Paul hires former Ancich assistant Rick Zepeda as new head coach …

St. Paul announced Thursday evening that is has hired Rick Zepeda as its new varsity football head coach.

Zepeda replaces interim head coach Casey Morales, who took over late in the season after Elijah Asante was fired on Oct. 10.

According to a press release put out by the school, Zepeda spent last season at St. John Bosco, although it was unclear in what capacity. Zepda is a 1988 graduate of St. Paul and was on legendary Swordsmen head coach Marijon Ancich’s staff from 1995-2004. He spent one season as an assistant at Long Beach Jordan in 2004 and two seasons at East Los Angeles College from 2005-07 before being the head coach at El Rancho from ’08-’11.

St. Paul made a splash last offseason when it replaced Ancich, who retired, with Asante. The Swordsmen got several big-name transfers, but the season never got off the ground. St. Paul finished 1-9.

Aram’s take: St. Paul fans get what they want — a St. Paul guy. How Zepeda rounds out his staff will be very key and a little birdie has told me there’s a possibility that recently resigned San Gabriel coach Jude Oliva will be Zepeda’s offensive coordinator. Now that would really go a long away toward forming a dynamic staff. No matter what the coaching staff is, they will need some horses to work with and I’m not too sure what type of talent remains in Santa Fe Springs.

Jude Oliva resigns as head coach at San Gabriel …


Division 1: Bishop Amat is here, but can the Lancers stay? Remember, now programs have to earn their keep. Just ask Crespi, which got booted out. Mission Viejo joins the fray, but head coach Bob Johnson is on record as saying his team won’t play against private schools in the playoffs. 18 teams for 16 spots sounds dicey but it’s really not.

Division 2: This is the D-1 rejects pool. Nice try Notre Dame, Norco, Crespi, Oaks Christian, but you weren’t D-1 material. Now, you’re here. And this is one helluva division. La Habra, though? How do the Highlanders go D-1 instead of La Mirada?

Division 3: La Mirada, St. Francis and La Serna (all teams that were in the Southeast Division) last season land here.

Jude Oliva resigned as San Gabriel High School varsity football head coach on Monday after three seasons. He was 17-17 at the school.

Oliva cited health, career and family reasons for his decision to step down. Oliva suffered from gout and kidney issues this season, which caused severe joint pain.

He and his wife just welcomed a newborn daughter. Oliva was not a full-time teacher at San Gabriel and will look for more gainful employment while also not ruling out a return to the sideline.

“I just had a brand new baby girl and that gave me perspective on some things,” Oliva said. “I’m looking for a teaching job and trying to get some things lined up for myself.

“I’m still looking to coach. I don’t have a timetable on it. If the right opportunity presents itself, of course, I would love to get back into coaching football. It’s something I’m not ready to give up and something my family doesn’t want me to give up.”

Oliva, a 1998 graduate of San Gabriel, had his best season in 2011 when he led the Matadors to a 9-5 record, Almont League championship and an appearance in the Mid-Valley Division championship game.

Following the season, Oliva was named Pasadena Star-News Coach of the Year. He was also chosen to coach the West team in last summer’s National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame’s annual all-star game.

“When we were able to beat San Dimas (in last year’s semifinals), for me, that was the pinnacle of what our program was about,” Oliva said. “It was one of those great moments where we got beat up pretty bad the first time we played (San Dimas) and in the second game we were able to overcome a slow start and show what kind of character we had.”

Oliva replaced former longtime Matadors head coach Keith Jones in 2009 after serving as an assistant coach on Jones’ staff for eight years.

San Gabriel was unable to parlay its 2011 success into 2012. The Matadors went 3-7 and were on the bad end of several hard-luck losses. San Gabriel missed the postseason after narrow losses to league foes Schurr and Montebello came back to haunt.

What, no Hawaii trip? Bishop Amat’s Dionza Blue picks Fresno St. …

Bishop Amat running back/defensive back Dionza Blue committed to Fresno State over the weekend and will play defensive back for the Bulldogs.

Blue is the second Lancer to commit to a D-1 school. Darren Andrews switched from Duke to UCLA, where he will play receiver, last month.

Aram’s take: Can’t wait to watch these two perform on Saturdays.

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UPDATED: Etiwanda down to three (four?), last interviews are Saturday

Etiwanda is down to former Damien head coach Greg Gano and Chino Hills offensive coordinator Matt Bechtel in its search for a new head coach, according to a source.

Did I say that the Etiwanda job is down to two? Make that four three, according to another source within the Chaffey Joint Union High School District.

The four three are the two mentioned last night — which another source said are the two finalists — former Damien coach Greg Gano and current Chino Hills offensive coordinator Matt Bechtel, plus Jason Smith, who coached at Colony under Bechtel and GET THIS!!! former San Dimas head coach Roland DeAnda.

The Daily Bulletin’s Clay Fowler reported on Thursday that Chino Hills assistant Matt Bechtel did not apply for the position.

Last interviews will be conducted on Saturday, according to the source.

The Etiwanda job opened after the season when previous head coach Tommy Leach resigned. The Eagles went 4-6 last season, but the allure of the talent-rich program has attracted its share of interest from would-be coaches.