Shocking News: Northview to name new basketball coach, but it’s not Brian Rice, the son of legendary coach Ron Rice, who retired after 44 years

brian rice
By Fred J. Robledo, staff writer
When it comes to Northview High School basketball, the big curiosity is when the school will finally name the gym or floor after the house that legendary boys basketball coach Ron Rice built, not who would take over following his more than four decades at the school.
Naturally, most assumed, it would be his son Brian, his longtime assistant for more than a decade and also a social studies teacher at the school.
But in what is sure to be one of the most controversial decisions in years, Northview athletic director David Ochoa and first-year principal Dr. Josie Paredes have decided not to promote Brian Rice as the boys varsity basketball coach, according to Ochoa.
Instead, Ochoa explained, Paredes is expected to name a walk-on coach to replace Ron Rice, who retired this season after 44 years while grooming his son to take over.
Ochoa, also in charge of the wrestling program, would not comment on the reasoning behind the decision but acknowledged he supported his principal’s decision. Ochoa also said he expected the new coach to be named soon. Messages have been left for Paredes and Brian Rice seeking comment, but were not returned.
“I’ve been here 24 years and I’m behind her (Paredes) decision,” Ochoa said. “I think she’s a good person, and it wasn’t an easy decision for her, but it’s her decision. There’s just a difference in philosophy.”
At the Tribune/Star-News all-star classic at Damien a couple weeks ago, Ron Rice said he was disappointed the school decided to fly the position instead of naming his son the next coach.
“Mark Sims, the principal before (Paredes), said it was cut and dry Brian would be the coach when I left,” Ron Rice said. “Those were his wishes. He told me to coach as long as I liked and when you’re ready to make the switch, make the switch. It always seemed like the natural thing to do. He’s here, he teaches here and he’s been doing this with me for a long time.”
Ron Rice, who began teaching at the school in 1969 and became the head coach in 1971, retired this season after nearly 600 victories and winning the league title seven of the past ten years. He is not only one of the most decorated coaches in Valley history, he’s one of the most respected too.
“After 44 great years, to have this (decision) in my mind tarnishes it a bit,” Ron Rice said. “Obviously, it bothers me.”
It’s a difficult decision to understand given Ron Rice’s legacy, longevity and commitment to the school, that his son will likely be passed over for a walk-on coach.
“I’m in an awkward position being his dad,” Ron Rice said. “I didn’t get a whole lot of input and wasn’t asked a whole lot (about hiring the next coach).
“It’s obviously known what my wishes were and it’s been something Brian’s been looking forward to for a long time since he began teaching at Northview. He’s been part of this school forever, he started as our ball-boy, so, yeah, it’s hard for me to understand why they would do this.”

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  • bossman

    Brian Rice would do a great job. On-campus coaches are hard to find now days. It is a stupid decision when you have a qualified on-campus coach and give it to someone else who has never been a head coach. It is going to be hilarious as well when the new head coach is announced, some of you will be shocked. Doesn’t even work in the district and has no idea about what a Northview kid is about.

    But lets be real here, Brian is not the favorite of the people who were on the interview panel, Ochoa included.

    • http://twitter.com/SGVNSports Fred J. Robledo

      I hope I don’t get the standard, “we’re choosing to go in a different direction,” response, the Rice family deserves a better explanation after pouring their heart and soul into the program and school for many, many years.

      You’re talking about the greatest coach in school history and robbing his son, a teacher and assistant there more than a decade, the opportunity to follow in his father’s footsteps in favor of a walk-on coach.? I have a hard time understanding it without an explanation.

      The way I look at it, if Brian has done something so terribly wrong to get passed over, why is he still a teacher or why wasn’t he removed as an assistant long ago?

      If indeed, it’s just a philosophical difference between the principal and Brian, that’s not a good enough reason to not give Brian the opportunity that he has earned by waiting patiently for so long in favor of a walk-on.

      And BTW, I was told who the walk-on is, but will wait until the school verifies before posting. But from what I was told, he’s a girls basketball assistant at a nearby school.

      And finally, I’m serious about naming the gym floor after Ron Rice, when you’re fortunate enough to have a coach give that many years to your school and is that respected, his name deserves to be recognized forever.

      • LL

        Naming the floor after Ron Rice is a no brainer. Ron has been a top notch class act on the basketball court and in the classroom for 44 years at Northview. I hope the district will follow through with this suggestion.

  • The Truth

    To state “Shocking News” is an understatement to the injustice that has been done to Brian Rice and the Rice Family. There should be a thorough review of the leadership and decision making of Josie Paredes and David Ochoa by the executive leadership team of the Covina Valley School District. David Ochoa’s quote, “I’ve been here 24 years and I’m behind her decision,” speaks volumes
    of his lack of leadership skills to the coaches whom report to him in his role
    of Athletic Director. True leaders work for the people whom report to them, not
    the other way around. If there was “new” philosophy on campus, Josie
    Paredes and David Ochoa should have applied simple teaching, coaching and
    mentoring methodology to a forever loyal employee rather than have disgraced
    him. Rumor has it that the incoming walk on coach has a previous
    family tie to first year principal Josie Paredes. Northview High School should
    be ashamed of its leadership team. Bush League…

    • The general

      Viva La Raza!

  • bossman

    The Rice family does deserve better. Difference of philosophy or not, Brian should have been handed the keys to the castle to give him a chance. He is loved by all kids there and has poured his heart and soul himself. Freddy, heard the coach, girls assistant, that was offered also is going to turn it down for whatever reason.

  • Nhsmom

    I am sure whatever the reason is Josie is trying turn around Northview to a respected school in all area of sports. She has been a coach herself and I am sure this decision was not taken lightly. Mark Simms didn’t seem to care about NHS image or take the necessary steps to bring our school into the same competitive arena as other schools in are area.

    • http://twitter.com/SGVNSports Fred J. Robledo

      Dr. Paredes introduced herself to me at a baseball game and I could tell right away she loves her sports. But this is a decision that is difficult to comprehend without some sort of explanation on reasoning behind it.

    • The Truth

      7 Boys Basketball League Titles in the previous 10 years…

  • http://twitter.com/SGVNSports Fred J. Robledo

    This story is developing, apparently. After learning that Northview offered the position to a girls basketball assistant coach in the area, sources have indicated to me that this person has turned down the job. I’m trying to verify. I left messages for Ochoa and Dr. Paredes.

  • Mister Basketball

    It is unfortunate that a decades long legacy and storyline is being tarnished by its next chapter and it will be interesting to see how this story develops. While an explanation seems warranted, the most important thing is to get it right, and perhaps the school will have that opportunity if, in fact, the top choice has declined the opportunity to take over the reins. While taking the long look in the mirror may be difficult, it is a characteristic that allows one to grow, and while difficult, it defines ones true colors. After all, we’ve all made poor decisions, and ones that we regret, but the ability to right a wrong, and own it, defines character and shapes legacies.

  • fb102

    IF Brian Rice does not get the opportunity to coach at NHS, Mr. Manzo needs to make the call and get him to coach boys basketball at Amat.

    It’s a CRIME that the boys basketball program at Amat is virtually cratered with NO direction.

  • BB

    If Coach Ron Rice has so much faith in his son Brian Rice to be the head coach maybe he should have stepped down a few years ago when the job was promised to Brian by formal principal Mark Simms and been his assist coach. Yes Ron Rice was also a walk on coach once he retired from teaching. It just shows that Coach Ron Rice did not have faith in his son to be head coach.

    Yes Coach Ron Rice was a great head coach at Northview but does not mean that Brian Rice is a good coach. Fred Robledo should not have assumed that Brian would be named the head coaching job, just because Ron was the formal head coach. Sounds like Brian needs to make his own name and not live under his dad’s name. This is not about the Rice Family, its about what’s the best thing for Northview Basketball and the players. Obviously Brian Rice was not the future for Northview BB.

    And to talk bad about Dr Paredes and Coach Ochoa, you have issues. Coach Ochoa has made Northview Wrestling one of the best programs in the state of California and has helped several wrestlers to get scholarships to college. I feel I can say he knows a little about leadership and knows what he is doing. Dr Paredes was the head coach at Covina High for volleyball and also coached basketball, she knows a little about coaching.

    Everywhere that Dr Paredes has worked at she has made a difference for the school and the kids. At CHS she was a great teacher and coach. At Sierra Vista Jr High she was a great assist principal and made great changes for the kids. At Las Palmas Jr High, she was a great principal and made several changes for the kids. Now at NHS she is making changes and cleaning up the school for the kids. Dr Paredes keep up the great leadership at NHS and no this is not bush league.

    • http://twitter.com/SGVNSports Fred J. Robledo

      BB, your first paragraph is absolutely ridiculous and shows you know nothing of the situation that transpired between Ron Rice and his son Brian. Even Ron has indicated to me that Brian has assumed almost all of the duties as a head coach in recent years and has basically run the team. Ron Rice, sort of like how Lou Farrar is allowed to continue to be the head coach at Charter Oak football, has kept his stripes during retirement because they both have two proud sons who are more than willing to allow their longtime “coach” fathers to keep the reigns, probably because they still enjoy coaching with dad.

      The reason I wrote this story is because it’s a fair question to wonder why Brian Rice, given the fact he’s been the assistant coach for more than a decade and is the head of the social studies department, has been passed over while the school interviews walk-ons. Forget for a second he’s Ron Rice’s son. I don’t know of any situation where a longtime assistant who also happens to be a teacher at the school is not rewarded with the full-time gig when a longtime coach retires.

      You can take this to the bank, when John Romano retires at Nogales baseball after next season, his longtime assistant, Don Montanez, will be named the head coach.

  • SmashWilliams

    I’m a Northview alumnus with no vested interest in who coaches the team. I don’t know the Rices other than a distant memory of Ron Rice coaching the team when I attended school there. That said, the notion that the job (or any head coaching job anywhere) should simply be handed over to his son (or any assistant) is preposterous. This presumably is a job funded by public money and an open and thorough search should be done to find the best possible candidate. Simply handing the job over to the previous coach’s son gives the appearance of the worst kind of nepotism and cronyism. If a thorough search is done and the junior Rice is the best possible candidate, so be it. But the sense of entitlement that the job is somehow owed to him is off putting and alarming.

    • Steve Ramirez

      Smash,
      I’m an alum as well. To address your first point, there’s a reason why most times in these situations when a long-time coach retires to hand it to is top assistant is because it continues consistency in the program. The worst thing in sports, especially on the high school level, is to change up when a program has had success doing it its way. That way by the time the freshman become juniors and seniors, they know the routine and the schemes like the back of their hands. Ever wonder why there are upsets in the NCAA Tournament? It’s because the mid-majors with four and five-year seniors are fined tuned acting as one compared to the individual stars of the one-and-done teams. It’s the same at the high school level to a degree where a program with consistency continues to get better. So in a situation like this, you keep the status quo, which Brian Rice would continue. Now if the program was struggling, then obviously you don’t want to continue the trend, but in this case, Northview has won its league seven times in the past 10 years, which might have something to do with Brian being the top assistant during that time. It can be argued that this era of Northview basketball is the best its ever been, or at least in a while.
      But I will say Ron Rice was more than a coach to the Northview boys he coached, he was also their mentor. I have in the past relayed the story about alum Eric Wattree, who transferred out when his dad didn’t like how Rice was coaching his son. Only later in life, did his dad come around when Eric told him that the things he learned from Coach Rice help him while serving in the special forces of the military. That’s the stuff our coaches and teachers teach us, not just the game, or in my case how to write, but also about life, about pushing forward when the breaks go against us. I’m sure the techniques of building basketball players and character to young men was passed from Ron Rice to his son Brian, who would pass it on to the Northview players, and years from now, they can relate to what they learned from him, as Ron Rice’s players have.

      • SmashWilliams

        Steve,

        All of your points in support of Brian Rice are fair, but they do not address the issue I raised. Brian Rice is not owed this job simply because his father did it for a long time and did it well. The district has an obligation to give it to the best possible candidate, and that can only be done with a full and fair search. The points you raise in support of Brian Rice can all be weighed in his favor by whoever does the hiring. But it’s critical they are also weighed equally against the strengths of other possible candidates.

        • Steve Ramirez

          Smash, the point I was making, from a coaching perspective, is that when a program has had great success, you want to keep the ball rolling after the coach responsible for that success leaves. You do that by hiring some one from within. because he’s not going to change it, where some one new is going to want to do it his way, which might work, or it might not. That’s why in these instances, the top assistant succeeds the outgoing coach. it’s the if its not broke, don’t fix it rule. It just so happens in this instance, that assistant is the son of the retiring coach. Now I’m sure Eric Williams will do a good job. He coached under Ron Rice at a lower level, so I’m sure it will be a little status quo, but it also brings up questions why he was hired over Brian Rice. The trend these days is to hire an on-campus teacher rather than someone who is off-campus. For more, see the debacle at Diamond Ranch.

          • 90′s Spartan

            Steve,
            They did hire from within, Eric Johnson. I don’t know for sure, but the circumstances seem to suggest something else is going on here. Maybe there are reasons for not hiring Rice. We don’t know what those reasons might be, but it seems like there is something else at work here.

          • SmashWilliams

            OK Steve, you’re right. Continuity is the ONLY THING that matters in a public school program, and success is guaranteed if the job is given to an assistant. So much so that alternatives should not even be considered. An assistant or the old coach’s son will be exactly the same as the old coach. Same skills, same philosophies. Nothing will change. No new ideas. No outside candidate could possibly have anything to offer. Also, it’s good to rely on nepotism in handing out jobs in governments and public schools. It’s all clear to me now.

          • Steve Ramirez

            It worked when JFK had RFK as his attorney general. But seriously, when you look at recent history of succesful high school or collegiate teams, the general rule is to promote the top assistant when the head coach leaves, whether it be Chris Peterson taking over for Dan Hawkins at Boise State or David Shaw taking over for Jim Harbaugh at Stanford on the collegiate level or locally at the high school level where we have assistant Albert Rodriguez succeeding Steve Bogan at South Hills or Matt Bechtel taking over for Derek Bub at Chino Hills. Bub, by the way, was CH’s top assistant when he replaced Terry Roche, who retired. Notice a trend? When it doesn’t happen, like in this case, it makes you ask why?

  • 90′s Spartan

    I wonder where the so called “Rialto Rule” comes into play here. Don’t they have to give qualified district employees the first shot at positions like this? Maybe there is a good reason that Rice wasn’t hired to succeed his dad.

    Also, I agree with SmashWilliams that the focus of the basketball program should be what’s best for Northview and their students. Maybe Rice is the best for the students or maybe not, I don’t know. Either way the conversation needs to be about what the kids need, not about what the adult is entitled to.

  • EvanBBall

    Eric Johnson is the new head coach…I’m speechless.

  • Pingback: Breaking News: Northview hires Eric Johnson to take over boys basketball program after 41 years of Ron Rice | Best High School Sports Blog

  • NVAlum

    Just curious, in 40 plus year, how many times did Northview Basketball win CIF??

  • David Ondlam

    mike rice = brian rice

    know a couple of players who quit basketball at northview.

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