After going through a fifth change at the top since the Clovis North High football program’s launch in 2009, Broncos athletic director Coby Lindsey and district officials decided to look within rather than conduct their standard national search for a head coach.
It didn’t take long to find their man.
Seventeen days after the job opened, longtime assistant and district product Benny Martinez has been named Casey Quinn’s replacement as Clovis North’s football coach.
Martinez has been a part of the Clovis North football program since its inception, starting as an offensive line coach under Tim Simons, whom he had played center for in the late 1980s at Clovis.
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“He’s a phenomenal hire, a great guy and the kids love him. We’re pretty excited about that,” Lindsey said. “I wanted to find a guy who wants to be here, who wants to stay here, who will be here for championships and when things don’t go the way we want them to. A guy that the community loves, and Benny fits that bill.”
I wanted to find a guy who wants to be here, who wants to stay here, who will be here for championships and when things don’t go the way we want them to. A guy that the community loves, and Benny fits that bill.
Coby Lindsey, Clovis North athletic director
Martinez, who did not immediately return calls from The Bee for comment, was a running backs coach last year under Quinn, who went 6-6 in his only season at Clovis North before stepping down Jan. 23 to take over as the coach at McFarland.
Before Quinn, the Broncos were coached by Fresno Athletic Hall of Famer Simons in 2015 and 2014 during his second stint at the school after launching the program in 2009 and 2010. Former Fresno State and NFL defensive back Cory Hall coached Clovis North from 2011-13, leading the Broncos to a section D-II title in 2011 and a D-I crown in 2012.
Martinez interviewed for the Clovis North job in 2014 before school administrators elected to give Simons a second stint. Martinez coached at the junior high level for two seasons, leading Granite Ridge to its first football title, before returning to the varsity as an assistant under Quinn.
Lindsey said he felt the Broncos didn’t need to look outside the district for a coach, not when programs in others sports such as baseball (where Chris and Kevin Patrick, the sons of Clovis coach James Patrick, coach at Clovis North and Clovis West, respectively) and wrestling (where Troy Tirapelle, son of Clovis coach Steve Tirapelle, has turned Buchanan into a national power) have excelled with coaches who are products of the district.
“There is this model used in all other sports, and why does football need to divert from it?” Lindsey said. “When was the last time football hired a homegrown guy? Clovis East just did it (with Ryan Reynolds) and it’s a great hire. Sanger did it (with Jorge Pena) and I thought I know the guy who will do a wonderful job for us, and he’s been here since Day One. He knows Broncos football.”