After three years as the coach of the Gilroy High football team—including a historic 2017 season in which the Mustangs went 13-0 and won their first-ever Central Coast Section championship—Jubenal Rodriguez has departed to become the new coach at Monte Vista Christian in Watsonville.
Rodriguez said he informed the school on Feb. 8 of his decision to not return to Gilroy, which went 3-7 in his first season and 8-4 in 2016, including a trip to the CCS playoff semifinals. Rodriguez said he was hired by MVC last Saturday.
Why leave after rebuilding the Gilroy program to its peak?
“I just felt it in my heart it was time to step down,” the 28-year-old Rodriguez said. “My time at Gilroy was definitely special. It was great to be a part of a school with a rich history, and the fact that we made history was icing on the cake. I’ll definitely miss the work ethic of the kids and their ability to buy into my philosophy.”
In a text message to the Dispatch, Gilroy Athletic Director Jami Reynolds said, “We wish him well and we are thankful for a great season.”
Rodriguez said he gave the school’s administration a three-year plan—meaning from 2018 and beyond—in January. However, something must have changed in between the time Rodriguez told the administration and the weeks that followed.
“I wish I could tell you the Monte Vista job was waiting for me, but I took a leap of faith and resigned without anything set in stone,” said Rodriguez, who nonetheless inherits a private school program that by all accounts is expecting its new coach to lead the team to the playoffs and beyond.
“I’m looking forward to utilizing the endless opportunities that MVC has to offer,” he said. “The thing that attracted me there was the fact that they not only want a strong football program, but a strong athletic program. You can see the upward trajectory of where things are going there, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”