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Hawk assistant Rodriguez earns promotion to head coach
Assistant Mike Rodriguez will replace Darryl Dickson as head coach of Central Valleys varsity boys basketball program. Rodriguez also coaches boys and girls tennis at the school. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Mike Rodriguez has been promoted to head coach of Central Valley's varsity boys basketball program.

Darryl Dickson, Rodriguez's predecessor and a fellow P.E. teacher at the high school, stepped down to spend more time with his family and to pursue a coaching opportunity at Modesto Junior College.

"It's been a smooth transition," Rodriguez said. "I'm not starting from complete scratch. The only thing changing is my job title."

Rodriguez, 33, assisted Dickson at the varsity level for the past five seasons.

He also served as head coach of the Hawk's junior-varsity and freshman boys hoops teams for a combined three seasons.

When Dickson stepped down at the end of the 2016-17 school year, Rodriguez was named his successor.

"I've been around the program for nine years, overall," Mike said. "The plan was for me to eventually take over. Darryl helped prepare me for this."

Rodriguez learned a lot from Dickson, Central Valley's first and only head coach.

"He gave me a chance to move up and assist him for five years," Rodriguez said. "He always let me have input and coach the guys during the summer. I'll take what I learned from him-how to game plan and communicate with players-and use some of that. Offensively, he's got a great mind. His ability to game plan and strategize separates him from a lot of other coaches."

Darryl guided Central Valley for 12 years.

The Hawks posted a combined record of 132-166, captured one conference title and participated in the playoffs three times at the varsity level.

Central Valley enjoyed its best season to date during the 2013-14 campaign. The Hawks went 22-4, placed first in the Western Athletic Conference with a perfect 12-0 record, reeled off 15 straight wins, qualified for the Division-III postseason tournament and hosted their first-ever playoff game.

"I'm looking forward to running my own program," Rodriguez said. "We'll be competitive. Our kids always play hard."

Rodriguez started working for Ceres Unified School District in 2008-09.

He's been a P.E. instructor alongside Dickson at Central Valley for nine years.

"I'm happy where I'm at," he said. "I get to coach what I want. The hardest thing is balancing tennis and basketball. I'm so busy all the time."