High School Football

Don Arax has been face of Bullard football since 2000. Now, he’s making room for another Knight

After three seasons of un-Bullard High-like football results, coach Don Arax said he knew the Knights needed a change.

“The level of coaching dropped significantly” as Bullard went a combined 16-19, Arax said. “The frustration for me, I knew that wasn’t Bullard football.”

So Arax brought back Yosef Fares, his former defensive coordinator, as a co-head coach. Fares helped the Knights to their last winning record, 9-3 in 2015.

“The goal was to always come back home and it just happened a little bit sooner than I thought,” Fares said. “This is where I grew up and this is where I went to school and this is home.”

Fares, 35, was a lineman (Class of 2002) and then assistant coach at Bullard. He spent the last three seasons as head coach at Madera.

He isn’t the only coaching change at Bullard:

Steve Cox returns in his old position as linebackers coach.

Colby Hunter comes over from San Joaquin Memorial where he was the offensive coordinator the past four seasons.

Brandon Nagel previously served as the head coach at Reedley and was the defensive coordinator at Immanuel and Clovis North.

Will Pence was a longtime offensive line coach at Clovis North under Corey Hall and Tim Simons.

Shaun Kilduff was with Fares at Madera and also served as the defensive coordinator at Stagg-Stockton.

Mario Miranda was a walk-on at Fresno State under Pat Hill. He will coach the running backs.

“It feels like Bullard football,” Arax said. “You have coaches in every position and they’re committed.”

Since 2000, Arax has led the Knights to six league titles and one Central Section title (13-0 in 2009), according to section historian Bob Barnett. His career record is 152-107-1 in 23 seasons including stops at Kerman, Reedley and Bullard.

While the plan is to have Fares be the successor when Arax, 55, retires (not anytime soon), Fares said he’s excited about the present.

“It’s going to be electrifying. Everything I learned is from this guy. It’s going to be a fun deal. This is the guy that started it and I played for him and we’re going to get this thing back to the top of the mountain.”

Season-openers

One hundred section schools open the season Aug. 22-24, including the marquee matchup on Saturday night, Narbonne-Harbor City at Buchanan on ESPNU.

Defending section Division I champ Central plays Edison at Koligian Stadium on Friday night.

Bullard is among the few teams that won’t take an in-season bye on its 10-game schedule, waiting until Aug. 30 to open at Buchanan.

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Anthony Galaviz writes about sports for The Fresno Bee. He covers the Oakland Raiders, high schools, boxing, MMA and junior colleges. He’s been with The Bee since 1997 and attended Fresno City College before graduating from Fresno State with a major in journalism and a minor in criminology.
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