It’s official: El Rancho taps Zepeda

Needing to fill its head football coaching position for the second time in as many years, El Rancho High School has named Whittier resident Rick Zepeda to replace Gene Parsons, who resigned after just one season.
Zepeda, 33, who is an independent businessman but has significant coaching experience, will be a walk-on coach for the Dons.
He is a graduate of St. Paul High School (class of 1988) and Lousiana State University (1994). He began his coaching career at St. Paul in 1994 under Marion Ancich and stayed 10 years.
In 2004 he moved to Long Beach Jordan where he was the defensive coordinator two years. The past three years he has coached linebackers at East Los Angeles College.
“He has coached under some legendary coaches,” Dons athletic director Lynn Lawson said. “He has a very good foundation to work from, and he has been a head coach at the lower levels (freshman, junior varsity at St. Paul).”
Zepeda, who smiles as he says he started his engineering contracting business so he could keep coaching, said he knows that because he comes “from outside (the community) and from over the bridge,” he has a lot to prove, but that he is “well-schooled in the Ernie Johnson tradition of run-oriented offense,” and that he doesn’t plan to “change very much” from what was done last season.”
“I thought Gene Parsons did a heckuva job taking them from 0-10 the year before to the playoffs in one year,” Zepeda said. “The kids are doing a good job with what they know.”
He calls the Del Rio League “one of the most competitive leagues in the (Southeast) division. He’s not as concerned about rivalries as he is the entire season.
“Just about every school El Rancho plays is a rival because the competition is so tight,” he said. “In any case, I can’t get the guys ready to play one game (against a rival). I have to get them ready to play 10.”
Or 14, if you want to count playoffs.
Zepeda met with the players Monday afternoon and called it a “great meeting. After talking to and with them, I’m even more excited about the future.”
He also emphasized his philosophy concerning the seniors on the team.
“I want to give them a chance to win,” he said. “I don’t want them to think this will be a throw-away season or that they’ll be sacrificed (for a younger player and the future).”
Zepeda said he already has a core staff selected and that by the end of Friday he’ll hopefully have a complete staff.
He added he will handle the defensive cordinator responsibilities and probably coach the secondary.

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