Helmets to Headsets: Young alumni return to coach

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The Boxer football program is quickly becoming known for having high caliber players trade in their helmets and pads after graduation for headsets and whiteboards.

The football program has proven to be a great place for young aspiring coaches to get their start in a career in coaching.

The Boxer coaching staff today consists of many familiar names who have been a part of the program since it was reinstated in 2010.

Some of the young alumni who have come back to coach are Wide Receivers Coach P.J. Minaya ‘14, who was an Honorable Mention All- Northwest Conference selection each of his last two seasons as quarterback.

In addition to Safeties Coach Bryan Mills ’14, a four-year starter for the Boxers and Honorable Mention All-Northwest Conference in 2011 and 2012 as a safety as well as Defensive Line Coach Michael Smith ’14, who started three years for the Boxers, joining the coaching staff.

Just a years’ time to go from player to coach maybe difficult for some. However, for these three former players the transition went smoothly.

“The transition was fairly easy, mainly because of last year’s senior class,” said Mills.

“They already had our respect because they knew the type of players we were,” added Smith. After four years of being a part of the Boxer

football program you might be curious as to what the motivation was to stick around as coaches.

“After coming so close our senior year, we wanted to still be a part of the program. Our ultimate goal is to win a championship here,” said Minaya.

“I came back with unfinished business, and my goal now as a coach is that I want the guys who play for me to be 10 times better than I ever was,” said Smith.

Some of the past Boxer football coaches have moved on and have taken other coaching jobs.
Most recently was former Defensive Coordinator Jacob Yoro, who is now the Assistant Coach at California Polytechnic State University.

The coaches shared whether not they would to pursue a career in coaching.

“It’s something I can see myself doing,” said Minaya.

“I really enjoy what I do and want to keep doing it,” said Mills.

“We all have a sheer love for the game and a competitive nature, and they always say ‘find something you love to do’,” continued Mills.

Smith added, “You have to be passionate about what you do, and what I do is football.”

The coaches plan to use their passion to fuel and motivate the team towards a championship and the possibilities once their football career on the field comes to an end.


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