Coby Lindsey, as a Clovis West High graduate and longtime football assistant, wanted dearly to be the top gun of the Golden Eagles' coaching staff.
Instead, he is Mike Parsons' wing man, and the program's new coach stops just short of calling Lindsey the team's MVP after its rousing 2-0 start.
"If not for Coby, it would really be tough," Parsons says. "This job is a pretty big job; it takes a huge team effort, and Coby's been a big part of that. He's been Clovis West football first, just awesome, and I can't say enough for him."
Most talk has been about senior running back Kendall Brock, who has rushed for 365 yards and 11 touchdowns combined in 42-21 and 47-7 routs of Merced and the state's previously 14th-ranked Del Oro-Loomis. Del Oro defeated Central Section defending Division I champion Bullard 41-19 a week earlier.
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The Eagles, ranked 21st in the state by Cal-Hi Sports, will visit a Southern Section school with considerable success in the past decade, Crespi-Encino (1-1), Friday.
Lindsey, meanwhile, has taken the high road, moved to the offensive side of the ball for the first time in his coaching career as Clovis West's quarterbacks coach and helped Parsons manage the most high-profile, high-pressure job in all of section sports.
Early, the marriage is working, which bodes well for a program begging for coaching stability in that Parsons is the Eagles' fifth head coach in as many years.
"Mike values my input and, at the same time, he's teaching me a ton of football," says Lindsey, the team's interim coach last year when Clovis West went 5-6 for its first losing record since 2000 and only its second in 23 years. "I understand why Mike got the job because he's a heck of a football coach, very open and a wonderful person."
When Lindsey failed to land the job, he approached those in the hiring process and asked why: "I was told my lack of offensive knowledge."
Lindsey then not only asked Parsons to be part of his staff, he specifically asked to coach offense to broaden his expertise.
"You kind of think you might know it all," says Lindsey, the school's boys Athlete of the Year in 1987, "but then a guy comes in like Mike and shows all these things. It's really been awesome, to be honest."
Parsons couldn't have said the same, initially, in 2001, when he was in a similar situation -- a Chowchilla assistant who remained on staff after being denied a head job that went to Scott Donegan.
"It was a tough pill to swallow," Parsons says. "It took some time to know Scott and what direction he was going, and it wasn't always the direction I thought was best. So I've been in Coby's shoes, and he's handled it a lot better than I did. That's a compliment to him, his integrity and his love for Clovis West football. He's quite a human, actually."