By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
With the high school football season nearing and teams in summer passing tournaments and setting-up for the push toward fall, the Chino Valley Unified School District transferred Ayala High School football coach and teacher Tom Inglima to Chino High for budgetary reasons, forcing the fifth-year coach out as the Bulldogs’ head football coach.
Ayala principal Diana Yarboi explained her reasons for the transfer through a written statement, that reads in part:
“Mr. Tom Inglima will be transferred as a physical education teacher from Ayala to Chino High School for the 2011-2012 school year as part of budget adjustments for the Chino Valley Unified School District,” Yarboi wrote. “It has long been the policy of Ayala to have the varsity football coach as an assigned teacher. Given Mr. Inglima’s transfer to Chino High, a new varsity football coach will be named within the next two weeks.”
Randy Reams, Inglima’s offensive coordinator, is a teacher at the school and graduated from Ayala. He has been named the interim coach, a position that is expected to become permanent once he applies for the position. (To continue click thread)
Although Ayala has walk-on coaches in other sports, athletic director Steve Martin explained having a football coach as a teacher on campus remained a priority.
“High School football is the sole sports program that does not have a year round club or travel team,” Martin explained. “Therefore colleges who appropriate thousands of dollars in recruiting visits to the high schools when seeking potential players always wish to speak with the head coach regarding those players. If our head coach was not on campus, he would not be available to communicate with these college recruiters. This opens Ayala up for criticism when our nearby high schools have head coaches on campus and are available at all times.”
The news didn’t come as a complete surprise to Inglima as several teachers were warned off possible layoffs and reshuffling within the district because of budget cuts. Inglima said he was forced to transfer because he was the least tenured among the physical education teachers at the school. Still, he was surprised to lose his head coaching position this close to the season.
Inglima has two sons on the football team, his oldest, Tommy Inglima Jr., will be a senior safety/tight end this fall.
“It’s very hard to leave because my sons are there and I put my heart and soul into that football program,” Inglima said. “I met a lot of good people at Ayala and had the time of my life there. I felt we built a strong program the community was proud of, and was excited about the upcoming season.
“But it was also instilled in me to stay positive, that’s the Bulldog way, to keep your chin up. At the end of the day I’m lucky to have a teaching job. I was at Diamond Bar years ago and was laid off and know how devastating that is for you and your family. Although I would have loved to have kept coaching at Ayala, I’m still working and hope the ripple effect hasn’t cost another person their job.”
Inglima changed the culture of Ayala’s football program after taking over in 2006, improving everything from fundraising to participation while compiling a 26-27 overall record in a tough league and division.
After going 0-10 in his first season, the Bulldogs tied for the Sierra League title two years later in 2008, finishing 9-3 and advancing to the second round of the Central Division playoffs. Inglima was named the Inland Valley coach of the year that season.
Although the Bulldogs were 4-6 this past season, they had three winning seasons during his tenure.
“Our football program is in better shape than when he took it over five years ago,” Martin said of Inglima. “I can honestly say that. He put a lot of heart and effort into this program and he will be missed.”
Inglima said he will likely take the year off from coaching football, in part so he can watch his kids play.
“The part I feel best about is the football program is headed in the right direction and I feel like I’m leaving it in a better situation then when I took over,” Inglima said. “We will see how things go from here, but right now I’m looking forward to watching my kids play and wishing Ayala football nothing but the best.”