In a move that has caught many off guard, Tim Pierleoni has left Christopher High to become the new athletic director and football coach at Gilroy High. Pierleoni, 58, had been Christopher’s only head football coach since the program’s inception 12 years ago. A 1981 Gilroy High graduate, Pierleoni is returning to his alma mater and taking a step up at the same time.
“It’s tough to pass up a promotion at your alma mater,” he said. “This move wasn’t easy on anybody, but I felt like in my heart it was the time to do it and a challenge I really wanted to take up.”
Part of that challenge will be to turn around a Gilroy football program that has won just one game in the last three years and in 2019 canceled its season in the wake of an alleged sexual assault incident. Numbers have also been down for the program, and to that end Pierleoni will look to get participation levels up at both the varsity and junior varsity levels.
He’ll also need to hire several coaches. Currently, Pierleoni is looking for an offensive line coach, a defensive line coach and a receiver coach at both levels. Gilroy High Principal Greg Kapaku knew exactly what he was getting when the school’s administration hired Pierleoni. The two worked together for eight years when Kapaku was the assistant principal at CHS and in charge of athletics during his tenure there.
“Tim was a very attractive candidate because he’s been the head coach at Christopher for a long time, but he also has a lot of other experience and was ready to take that next step up to oversee an entire athletic program,” Kapaku said. “He’s homegrown, loves Gilroy High School and will help reach out to the massive alumni base we have here. We had a lot of candidates, but Tim rose up and seemed to be the perfect fit. I’m really excited to have him on board at Gilroy High School.”
Kapaku and Pierleoni said a big emphasis will be placed on supporting all of the sports teams at Gilroy, not just the highly visible ones.
“I’m hoping we can resurrect the football program and get participation up at all levels for every sport,” Pierleoni said.
Pierleoni broke the news to the Christopher football players last weekend and said, “There were plenty of tears to go around, especially from me.”
“I want to thank Christopher, the administration, the teachers, the parents and all the athletes,” he said. “They all worked hard and I’ll always love Christopher High School.”
Pierleoni admitted even though he was the coach on the winning sideline for Severance Bowl bragging rights—the Cougars are 9-2 in the all-time series including a 35-0 win this past season—it hurt a little that Gilroy wasn’t more competitive.
“After a while taking it to them pretty good, I looked across the field and told myself that someday I would have to fix that (get Gilroy football competitive again),” he said.