By Roger Murray
Montebello High School has a new football coach, and the Oilers didn’t have to go far to find him. Pete Gonzalez, well-known in the city where he grew up and graduated from Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary High School, has been named to replace Nishil Shah, who resigned after the 2008 season.
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Gonzalez was recently fired from St. Paul, where he led the Swordsmen to a 22-15 record overall and to a 6-1 mark in the CIF playoffs in three years at the helm. His team went 5-5 in 2008.
He took St. Paul to the CIF-SS Western Conference semifinals in his first season, then led it one step farther the next year when the Swordsmen won the championship.
When he was terminated at St. Paul, he said the only reason given was that the administration “wants to take the program in a different direction.”
Montebello athletics director Tim Murphy said Wednesday afternoon that the search for a new coach received 18 applications.
Murphy said Gonzalez has indicated he will bring most of his staff with him from St. Paul. But offensive line coach Casey Morales will remain at St. Paul, where he is also the head baseball coach, and defensive coordinator Gilbert Jimenez has applied for coaching positions at several area schools.