Julio Marquez and Brian de la Porte formed a friendship at Ceres High School.
Marquez and de la Porte played varsity boys basketball together for one season (1997-98).
Julio and Brian returned to their alma mater as coaches.
Unable to find a full-time teaching job with Ceres Unified School District, 32-year-old Brian stepped down as head coach of the Bulldogs following a five-year stint in May and took over the same position with Patterson High School. He was also hired to teach health and physical education.
Marquez was named de la Porte’s successor in June. Julio assisted Brian for four seasons. Marquez has helped coach varsity baseball the last five years.
“I feel like I can run a successful program,” said Julio, 32. “I saw firsthand all the stuff he (de la Porte) had to do. I’ve learned a lot from Brian. He taught me that building relationships with kids is important. I’m going to implement some of the things he installed. If I have any questions, I can always give him a call. We’ll always have that connection as coaches.”
The Ceres School Board approved Marquez’s hiring.
Julio was interviewed by Shawna Nunes (athletic director), Linda Stubbs (principal) and Louise Amaral (athletic/ASB clerk).
“I had talks with him (Brian) and (former CHS athletic director) Phil de la Porte,” Marquez said. “They told me I should apply. I had a good interview. But I wasn’t over confident. I have a job to do. I’m focused on these kids learning new concepts.”
Varsity returnees Harman Chung, Abel Reyes, Dylan Canatsy, Jr. Garcia, Angel Garcia and Jimmy Bates, and 2012-13 frosh-soph contributors Joshneil Sandhu, Brad Bussard, Juan Anderson, Nick Burt and Sahil Soni, and private-school transfers Puneet Sahi (Central Catholic) and Austin Stiles (Modesto Christian) suited up for the Bulldogs during summer-league play.
Ceres High completed a 22-game schedule.
Canatsy was sidelined with a broken left hand for the majority of the 2012-13 season.
Sandhu and Bussard helped lead the Bulldogs’ frosh-soph squad to a 20-6 finish and second-place showing in the WAC (10-2).
“We have a good all-round team,” Marquez said. “We have nine guys that could easily be starters. We have shooters coming up from the JV level. We’re learning a new offense. I’m allowing the kids more freedom. We’ll still run a lot of similar plays from previous years. Defensively, we’re pretty solid.”
The Bulldogs posted a 61-72 record, participated in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs twice and won one Western Athletic Conference title during de la Porte’s coaching tenure.
Ceres High compiled a 14-13 overall record, finished third in the WAC (7-5) and advanced to the Division-III postseason tournament this past season.
The Bulldogs won their first conference title in 17 years, went 17-9 and qualified for the playoffs in 2010-11.
“I’m not concerned about filling anyone’s shoes,” Marquez said. “I want to see how successful we can be as a group. I do believe we have the talent to compete for a league championship and playoff berth. We’ll be a tough matchup for any team.”
Marquez graduated from Ceres High in 1998.
Julio earned five varsity letters, including two in both basketball and baseball and one in football.
He pitched and majored in Native American Studies at UC Davis.
“I’ve always loved basketball,” Marquez said. “I enjoyed playing it. I chose baseball in college.”
Julio and Brian will reunite on the hardcourt this winter. Patterson and Ceres High will meet twice in Western Athletic Conference play.
Ceres High’s gymnasium is named in honor of Brian’s father Phil.
“It will be fun and exciting,” Marquez said. “We faced off this summer. They got us. He (Brian) took it easy on us at the end.”