HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

ST. MONICA — St. Monica’s athletic director Rick Bruce didn’t have to look far to fill a trio of varsity coaching positions.

He didn’t even have to leave his own campus.

Instead of casting a wide net, taking all comers, he decided to go with people already coaching at the school.

For the open softball position, Bruce elevated longtime assistant Joey Carrillo to the top spot. Carrillo’s familiarity with the school and the team were key factors behind the choice.

“It was a pretty obvious decision,” Bruce said. “He’s a great guy.”

Carrillo has spent the previous eight years under coach Larry Rodriguez, who retired from coaching at the end of the past school year. Although he won’t be in the dugout any longer, Rodriguez has stayed on as a teacher at the school.

The opening on the boys’ volleyball team left vacant by the departure of Javy Martinez, who left to accept a teaching position at Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, Calif. was filled by the current head coach of the girls’ team — Brenda Gonzalez. The second-year girls’ coach will lead both teams.

Bruce is impressed by her volleyball knowledge and the fact that she’s a St. Monica alumna. He believes that any increased connection to the school is beneficial to the sports program and the student population.

“She really knows her sport,” he said.

Both she and Carrillo are walk-on coaches who don’t teach at the school.

Bruce recognizes that having coaches who also teach at the school creates a stronger bond, but feels that his selections’ current connections to the campus waylay some of those concerns.

“Having a teacher as a coach is always easier,” Bruce said. “But, in the end, you want the best person for the job.

“We’re dealing with people who know the school or are an alumni. They all had great advantages.”

As with the other selections, the opening on the track and field team was filled by somebody already on campus — assistant football coach Drew Shaw.

Unlike the other two, Shaw is a teacher at the school and has been since last year when he also served as an assistant on both the football and track and field teams.

“It was a natural move,” Bruce said. “He knows our programs.”

Drew sees it two ways. One, he’s eager to instill a bit of discipline upon his athletes. And two, it isn’t a bad place to look for athletes who can help the football team.

“I’m excited about the job,” Shaw said. “It’s going to be fun trying to get these kids to post faster times.”

His first goal is to teach his athletes accountability. Despite being largely an individual sport, he’s steadfast in his belief that it strengthens the team when everybody goes with the program.

“It’s not fair to teammates to not show up,” he said. “If you’re on the team, you’re on the team.”

Accountability may be his buzz word heading into the gig, but winning is his ultimate goal. Realizing results matter, he’s focused on “just winning meets.”

The task of dealing with three openings at once would appear to be a difficult one, but not for Bruce. He said the fact that all three individuals were already in the St. Monica fold made it surprisingly stress-free.

“Under different circumstances, it would have been tough,” he said. “But knowing them to begin with made it easy.”

daniela@www.smdp.com

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