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CV varsity football moving forward with new head coach
Central Valley High School varsity football players met their new head coach on June 19.

Jason McCloskey, 39, will replace Tim Garcia, who led the Hawks to a 19-41 overall record, and no winning seasons or playoff berths in six years.

Garcia quit to become offensive coordinator at his alma mater, Modesto's Grace Davis High School.

"Our goal was to find a person who could push our program forward," Central Valley Athletic Director Michelle Parrish said. "We think it's going to be a good fit. He's very motivated. He's confident. He has experience. We'll see what happens."

McCloskey was hired on June 18 to coach football and teach P.E. following two rounds of interviews.

"I'm in the prime of my career," he said. "I have the right amount of experience under my belt with success. I'm a motivator. My motto is, "Results require discipline," understanding what you're supposed to do and doing it to the best of your ability. Hopefully, we'll end up with a good product."

Said Central Valley senior quarterback Abraham Navarro: "You can't really judge him (McCloskey) on the first day. But I like what he's about. He has a good background. He has some experience at winning. That's a big part of coaching."

A total of 29 people applied for the position.

The pool was narrowed down to nine.

Jason was among the two finalists.

Parrish, Central Valley Principal Amy Peterman and Ceres Unified Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Services Denise Wickham liked what McCloskey had to offer.

"He wowed us in the interview," Parrish said. "You can feel a positive energy with the way he speaks. That's something the kids will feed off of. I have a really good feeling about him."

McCloskey and his family moved from Minnesota to California last July. Unable to find a full-time teaching position because of the economy, Jason substituted for Modesto City Schools.

"It was odd not being on the sidelines," he said. "I've been coaching football for over 15 years. I felt I'd get a job eventually but didn't know when. It was tough."

McCloskey was head coach of Waubun High School's varsity program from 2008-10. His teams posted a combined record of 19-13, captured one North Tri-County League crown and advanced to the Section Finals twice in 9-man football.

He was defensive coordinator for the 2007 state runner-up team.

Jason coached varsity girls basketball for six seasons (2005-11). Waubun experienced a major turnaround under McCloskey's guidance. The Bombers amassed a 30-10 record and won one playoff game from 2009-11. Waubun dropped 58 of 64 games the previous three seasons.

McCloskey attended Southwest Minnesota State University.

He played quarterback with the Mustangs for one game in 1993 before suffering a knee injury. Jason completed 19 of 35 passes for 167 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

McCloskey stopped playing college football and finished his schooling at Moorhead State, where he received his bachelor's degree in physical education with a minor in coaching. He earned his Health Education Teaching License from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

McCloskey played 10 years of semi-pro football (2001-11). Jason starred at quarterback with the Lakes Area Screaming Eagles (Northern Power Football League) and Brainerd Lumberjacks (Midwest Premier Football League).

"He's done a lot," Parrish said.

McCloskey was in Modesto with his family when Peterman called with good news.

Lindsey, Jason's wife, teaches math at Sierra High School. They have three sons, Jacob (10), Connor (7) and Luke (4). McCloskey also has a daughter from a previous relationship, 16-year-old Casey.

"The house erupted in excitement," he said. "I slapped my wife a high five and my kids went nuts and jumped all over me. They're pretty happy I got the position. I'm looking forward to a great partnership. Hopefully, I can improve on what Mr. Garcia had going. My ultimate goal is to be in the playoffs every year. Central Valley has the potential to be one of the top programs around."