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Richard Gonzalez

May 31, 2002

resigns

By RICHARD MONTENEGRO, Sports Editor

CALEXICO — Calexico High varsity head football coach Richard Gonzales has resigned after 15 years with the team and five years at the top spot to devote more time to his family.

Coming off his most successful season at the Bulldog helm — Calexico went 6-3 last season and earned second place in the Imperial Valley League — Gonzales tendered his letter of resignation Wednesday to Calexico High Athletic Director Ray Alvarado.

"First off all, football is all-consuming. As a head football coach you have to in your heart know that you're giving everything you have to football," Gonzales said this morning. "In the off-season, it's been getting harder and harder to feel that."

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With daughters entering first and second grade, the 39-year-old Gonzales said time has become a precious commodity.

"Trying to balance the time between football and family was becoming more difficult," he said. "I had to make a decision. The decision, of course, was family."

Gonzales said leaving the team is particularly hard for him. He's a product of Calexico High's class of 1981 and has been on the Bulldog coaching staff in one form or another for 15 years.

He said, "I'm at a loss right now. It's been a very emotional decision, not easy by any means. It's probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.

"You give 15 years of your life to something, to walk away is very difficult," Gonzales added.

Still, Gonzales said now was the best time to walk away as the team is in what he described as the capable hand of his top two aides — assistant head coach Bill Cunningham and assistant coach Ruben Castro.

From all indications, Calexico High officials may still be reeling from the news of Gonzales' departure.

Alvarado said this morning, "We're reluctantly going to accept his resignation and then we're going to put it out (advertise for the post).

"I don't think many people realize Richard's been coaching for us for 15 years, doing baseball and football and so forth," Alvarado added. "I see him working hard and finally getting the program where he wanted it. He's stepping out on his own terms."

Alvarado said some in the community wanted a change at the head football position after a couple seasons went badly under Gonzales. However, Alvarado said Gonzales proved his critics wrong by rebuilding the team, going from 3-6-1 in 2000 to 6-3 in 2001.

"He matured as a young head coach. He did a real good job for us and helped build a good little program for us down here," he added.

Don't expect Gonzales to pack away his garnet and gold togs just yet — "I'm going to be loyal to the Bulldogs. … I do love coaching and being around football. It's a real big sport in the Imperial Valley and I love it."

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