Clovis News: Sports

Clovis West's opening entices Modesto Christian football coach

A little more than three weeks after guiding Modesto Christian High to a 15-0 record and the state Small Schools football championship, Mike Parsons was at Clovis West on Monday inquiring about the Golden Eagles' coaching vacancy.

"I wouldn't have driven two hours if I was not interested in the job," said the 1989 Chowchilla graduate, who toured the campus with his family of five and Clovis West Principal Ben Drati.

"I'm real happy where I'm at," said Parsons, 63-13 in six years at Modesto Christian, "but you've got to take a look at Clovis West when it opens. It's a pretty special job."

Averaging 49 points a game with a modified wing-T offense that had Modesto Bee Player of the Year and Fresno State recruit Isaiah Burse operating out of the shotgun, the Crusaders closed the season with a 44-40 win over Parker-San Diego in the CIF State Championship Small Schools bowl.

About that time, Clovis West reopened a coaching search that actually began in early July when Gary Kinne suddenly resigned and returned to Texas after leading the Golden Eagles to the Central Section Division I title in his only season.

A few weeks later, Clovis West assistant Coby Lindsey was named interim coach.

After going 5-6 against one of the state's toughest schedules, Lindsey remains a candidate for the permanent position, Drati said.

Besides Parsons, Drati said former Fresno State player and graduate assistant Jeremiah Ross, among others, has applied for the job and was on campus last week.

Drati would not name the other applicants.

Two years ago, after Marty Martin was ousted, Ross was pursued by Clovis West and expressed interest before removing himself from consideration for a job that eventually went to Kinne.

Ross went 39-20 in five seasons at Crespi-Encino before resigning two weeks ago.

Ross couldn't be reached to comment.

Drati said he expects more potential candidates to come on campus this week before the official interview process begins next week.

He made clear his priorities for a program that, for all its success -- eight section titles since 1985 -- has experienced a coaching carousel with four coaches in the past four years and seven in 12.

"I have to be comfortable with someone who I think will be successful and also stick around," Drati said. "Stability is important."

He said he'd like to make the appointment by March.