News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.

Turn and Face The Strange Changes

  • New San Gabriel Head Coach J.D. Thompson
  • Not this year but next, Jim Arellanes and Pasadena Marshall join the MVL

Joe Torosian

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In another time one coaching change per off season, maybe two was the norm. Now, however, with budget cut backs and economics determining so much in high school athletics each season comes with a wave of change. The off season heading into the fall of 2013 has been no different.
The Mid Valley News covers 17 high schools in its coverage zone. Of those 17 schools five went through coaching changes. Since 2011 that number is nine schools that have made changes, since 2010 that number is twelve.
The five this year included Alhambra, San Gabriel, Arcadia, Sierra Vista, and La Puente.
As reported in this paper the Moors hired Chuck Leonardis, an Arcadia alum who was the defensive coordinator at Hoover High School in Glendale last year. Leonardis is Alhambra’s third head coach in as many years, and fourth in five years.
Andrew Policky, another Arcadia alum, was Leonardis’ boss at Hoover. He’s returned to his alma mater to lead the Apaches, and is that programs third head coach in as many years. He replaces Chris Long (a former Hoover HC), who replaced long time Arcadia HC Jon Dimalante heading into the 2012 season.
Brandon Rohrer has left La Puente High School after leading the Warriors to its most successful stretch in school history. He has taken the job at Etiwanda High School in the inland empire.
Replacing Rohrer at LP is Scott Morrison, who is the former head coach at Workman and Damien High School.
After a two-year successful return to the sidelines double wing master Don LeGro has stepped down at Sierra Vista. LeGro had a great run for the Dons during the 1990’s; he replaced Keith Locklear in 2011. His replacement has not yet been named.
San Gabriel has turned to J.D. Thompson to lead its program. The long dormant Matadors got a brief taste of success in 1997 under head coach Gary Orona. Keith Jones took over and led the team not only to its first playoff win ever but the CIF finals in 2003. Jude Oliva, a San Gabriel alum and a member of Orona’s1997 breakthrough squad became the HC in 2010 and in 2011 led the Mats to the CIF finals against Monrovia.
Oliva is now at Maranatha, and Thompson arrives after being part of the staff at the very successful Corona Centennial in the inland empire.
Looking for longevity? Look to Jim Singiser at Arroyo and Joel Sanchez at El Monte, both of these coaches are heading into their 11th season leading their programs.
On the horizon? Joining this mix in 2014 will be Pasadena Marshall as it enters the Mission Valley League. They are led by former El Rancho, Fresno State, and NFL quarterback Jim Arellanes who has served as an assistant at Rosemead in the past. He’s also been the HC at Northview and Los Altos High Schools.

New San Gabriel Head Coach J.D. Thompson

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News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.
Turn and Face The Strange Changes