A chance to coach varsity football in a stadium named for one of his mentors is a great opportunity for Charles Spikes.
Spikes, 39, a 1991 graduate of Tracy High, remembers practices where he learned the fundamentals under former Bulldog sophomore coach Don Nicholson, the Kimball High stadium’s namesake.
"I remember him spending three days on where you position your head and your butt on that block, and what was going to happen when you did that," Spikes said. "He taught you the X’s and O’s and how to be fundamentally sound."
Now in his first year as a varsity head coach Spikes, who was an assistant coach at West High before he came to Kimball this past summer, plans to make it clear that he only accepts 100-percent effort.
"We’ll keep that legacy going, and what it means to be Tracy football," he said.
Spikes will emphasize a "culture of hard work" as the theme of Jaguars workouts, practices and games.
"Two things I’ve really focused in on is that we have to work hard, and that means we have to be here," Spikes said, adding that he expects a high level of discipline will translate to a stronger commitment on the field.
Spikes takes over as the Jaguar program enters its fifth year, including an inaugural year with only junior varsity and freshman teams, and three years of varsity football under former coach Steve Anastasio.
Tracy Unified School District released Anastasio as Kimball head coach in January, declining to renew his contract. Former West coach Matt Loggins took over two months later only to leave in May for the athletic director job at Clovis West High near Fresno.
Spikes said that the program was far from being adrift over the summer, as he and the coaching staff that came over with Loggins stayed with the team for conditioning and team camps.
"Loggins put together a really good staff and we work well together," Spikes said.
Line coach John Gallagher, offensive coordinator Jerrod Teyshak and sophomore head coach Scott Johnson came over from West. Defensive coordinator Jesse Rodriguez and defensive back, quarterback and special teams coach Eric Relova come from Lathrop.
Defensive back and running back coach K.T. Ransom is the only varsity coach who had previously been at Kimball High. Jeff Telles begins his fourth year as freshman head coach.
Spikes said he will also depend on people around campus, including teachers, counselors and security guards, to take part in the development of the Jaguars team. He’s putting an emphasis on citizenship and responsibility.
"If the kids make a poor choice I know about it and there’s a consequence for it," Spikes said. "The kids know they’ll be held responsible for their actions in the classroom and on the football field."
Spikes played linebacker for the Bulldogs under former coach Wayne Schneider. After graduating from Tracy High, he played football at Grossmont Community College in El Cajon. He then majored in public administration at San Diego State University, but didn’t play there, and graduated in 1997.
Spikes’ 19 years of coaching experience includes six years at Sweetwater High in National City, where he started coaching his senior year of college. He moved back to Tracy in 2000 to teach seventh grade core classes at Jefferson School.
That’s when he also started coaching at West High as an assistant coach to Steve Lopez, and was with the team during it’s playoff runs in 2005, when West made the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship, and 2006, when the Wolf Pack made the Division I semifinals.
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.