It’s getting to the point where you can’t tell a coach without a program.
Alisal High became the latest to join a rapidly growing number schools seeking a head coach for a high-profile team after Cory Costanza resigned Wednesday after one season as coach of the Trojan football team.
Last week Steve Zenk stepped down as North Salinas High football coach and North Monterey County has had a head varsity football coach opening since the 2013 season ended.
Earlier this week Hartnell baseball coach Rich Givens said he will not return next year, and according to an article in the Hollister Free Lance on Wednesday, Baler varsity boy’s basketball coach Dave Kaplansky resigned to accept the head coaching job at Gavilan College.
“I’m leaving for personal reasons,” Costanza said. “I had a good time with the kids and I thank Alisal for the opportunity.”
Costanza, 47, has been coaching high school football for 20 years. Alisal was his first head coaching position. Prior to that he was an assistant coach at Santa Maria.
Costanza said he informed school administrators Tuesday of his decision to step down. He also said he’ll be leaving the school in June. In addition to his coaching duties, Costanza is a full-time physical education teacher at Alisal.
Costanza faced numerous challenges when he arrived at Alisal. Most noteable was the unenviable task of replacing the popular Sunil Smith as coach. Smith, who resigned to become an assistant coach at Hartnell College, took the Trojans to the CCS playoffs for the first time in school history (2003) and four times overall during his 10-year stay.
Costanza arrived after Alisal was moved into the powerful Monterey Bay League Gabilan Division for the 2013 season. As a result, the perennial undermanned Trojans — their roster numbered barely 30 players, making it one of the smallest in the league — had to line up against five of the strongest programs in the Monterey County area — Palma, Hollister, Salinas, Monterey and Seaside. In addition, Alisal’s top returning running back was lost for the season to an injury in the City Jamboree.
Alisal finished 2-8 overall, 0-6 in league last year. But the Trojans led MBL Pacific Division champion Alvarez at halftime, trailed Seaside 10-7 into the fourth quarter and fell to Monte Vista Christian, 16-13.
“I think they’ll do really good next year,” Costanza said. “They’ve got some really good kids coming back. I can see them going 7-3 or 8-2.”
Coincidentally, two schools seeking a head football coach — North Salinas and Alisal — open next season against each other.
Alisal has been moved back to the MBL Pacific Division for next season.