High School football: Gonzalez steps down as the Alvarez football coach

SALINAS — Citing family as the sole purpose in a difficult decision, Anthony Gonzalez has resigned as the Alvarez football coach after three seasons.

An Alvarez graduate, the 35-year-old has taken a teaching job at Clayton Valley in Walnut Creek, where he will serve as a defensive assistant football coach.

Two years ago Clayton Valley won a CIF state divisional football title. It plays in the same conference as Del La Salle in the North Coast Section.

“I’m not going to lie to you, the deciding factor was the attitude and violence in Salinas,” Gonzalez said. “My wife isn’t used to not being able to go out at night for a walk. I don’t blame her.”

Starting a family has become Gonzalez’ priority. His wife’s parents live just a few miles from where he bought a house in Walnut Creek.

“It’s been brewing for a couple of years,” Gonzalez said. “Eventually I had to figure out where we were going to end up. My wife wanted to move back to the area where she was raised.”

Having spent a decade at Alvarez as a coach, sandwiched in between a stop at Palma, Gonzalez took over an Eagles program in need of an attitude adjustment.

Grinding through a 2-8 first season, the Eagles showed tremendous growth in 2019 in going 5-5 in the Gabilan Division. It went 2-1 in a shortened pandemic spring this past season.

“I’m happy with the direction we took the program,” Gonzalez said. “But it’s not done. I wish I had one or two more years. We’re not finished. I hope I left the program in better shape than I found it.”

Having waited eight years to become a head coach, leaving the post was difficult for Gonzalez, who scored a touchdown the last time Alvarez beat Salinas in a football game in 2003.

“I told our athletic director if it was up to me, I would stay until I retired or you fired me,” Gonzalez said. “There is never a good time to leave.”

Gonzalez called this past year one of the more rewarding years he’s had as a football coach, unsure what each day would present in maneuvering through a pandemic.

“I had a good staff and a great group of kids,” Gonzalez said. “I was telling someone the other day this was the first year where we had 100 percent attendance. Kids were so ampt up and hungry to practice.”

With roughly 10 weeks until the start of football season, Alvarez can’t wait too long to fill the position, especially with the weight room likely to open up over the summer. In addition to the Alvarez vacancy, Gonzales is also looking for a football coach.

“I believe a pair of my assistants are expected to throw their hat into the ring,” Gonzalez said. “I hope who ever takes it keeps the Wing-T alive. It you look back at the program, the system works for the kids we get.”

While building a family will be life changing, Gonzalez has a desire to become a head coach again at some point in his career.

“I’m not trying not to be,” Gonzalez said. “Being a head coach is one of the most fun, yet stressful things I’ve done in my life. It’s so much fun to watch these kids grow.”

Contributed by local news sources

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