By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
CHS, CV coaches lead busier lives this school year
Mike Rodriguez
Central Valley’s Mike Rodriguez will coach boys and girls tennis and boys basketball during the 2020-21 school year. - photo by DALE BUTLER/ Courier file photo

Mike Rodriguez, Brett Johnson and a host of other multi-sport coaches from Ceres’ two public high schools will lead busier lives during the 2020-21 academic year.

The California Interscholastic Federation condensed three seasons of athletics—fall, spring and winter—into two after announcing plans on July 22 to delay the start of the prep sports season until December or January due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With all the sports going on at the same time and overlapping, it’s going to be difficult,” said Johnson, who’s been coaching at Ceres High for the past 29 years. “I knew there were going to be conflicts. I’ll make it work.”

Johnson coaches football and track and field.

The football season is slated to begin on Jan. 8.

First official practices will be staged on Dec. 7.

Final regular-season games will be played on March 19.

The track and field season will get underway on March 29.

March 15 is the first day of practice.

 “We have a three-week overlap,” Johnson said. “Also, my son Conner’s (college football) season begins in March. I’m going to try to keep my weekends free so I can travel to watch him play.”

Assistant coaches Katie Thiele and Anthony Gerads will help run Ceres High’s track and field practices leading up to the start the season.

“I’ll be relying on them more often,” Johnson said. “They’re both great coaches. They’ve been around. They know how we structure everything.”

Rodriguez, who’s married and has a five-year-old daughter, will be coaching girls tennis, boys tennis and boys basketball at Central Valley.

“I’ll be at school all day,” Rodriguez said. “I’ll be working triple overtime. It’s going to be a lot of work. I’ll suck it up for one year and get through it.”

The tennis season will begin on March 8.

Feb. 22 is the first day of practice.

Central Valley’s girls team will practice from 3-4:30 p.m.

The boys team will practice from 4:30-6 p.m.

“Our league seasons are pretty much the same,” Rodriguez said. “When the boys are on the road, the girls will be at home. The plan is to have three assistant coaches help me. We’ll have two coaches at each match.”

The boys basketball season will get underway on March 9.

Feb. 22 is the first day of practice.

Central Valley will practice from 6-8 p.m.“I was able to schedule my preseason basketball games on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays,” Rodriguez said. “When league starts, games will be on Wednesdays and Fridays. There’s a little overlap with tennis.”

The first tier of high school sports includes football, cross country, water polo and volleyball.

The second tier includes tennis, basketball, track and field, soccer, wrestling, swimming, baseball, softball and golf.

COVID-19 benchmarks must be met before high school sports are allowed to start.

“I take it one day at a time,” Johnson said. “You can’t look too far ahead because tomorrow is not known. You have to prepare like everything is going to happen. Hopefully, we’ll get some normalcy back.”

“I’m hoping just like everyone else we get to have a season,” Rodriguez added. “But we just don’t know. Things need to change.”