Six degrees of coaching success

Bulldogs' Martinez, Tigers' Caropreso disciples of Stubbs

Sjansen@mercedsunstar.comNovember 21, 2012 

Le Grand head coach Rick Martinez and most of his coaching staff will be on the Los Banos sideline on Friday night.

The night before the Bulldogs try to win their third straight Sac-Joaquin Section title, Martinez will be cheering for his buddy, Dustin Caropreso, and the rest of the Tigers coaching staff as they take on Escalon in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 4 semifinals.

The Los Banos and Le Grand coaching staffs have formed a close bond in the last few years.

"It all started, of course, with Dennis (Stubbs)," Martinez said. "Dennis' first year in Los Banos, we were looking at doing something different. We were looking for ways to improve.

"Dennis basically said here's what we've got going on. We went to a 3-4 defense. We went out and met all the Los Banos guys. The two staffs are a lot a like."

The two programs are very similar and both have enjoyed success in recent years.

Le Grand is making its fourth straight section title game appearance. The Bulldogs are 39-10 since 2009, including two consecutive section championships and a trip to the CIF State Bowl last year.

Los Banos is 36-12 since 2009, advancing to the playoffs five consecutive seasons and making its second semifinal appearance.

Both teams basically run the same I-back, spread offense and 3-4 defensive schemes.

Even with Stubbs returning to Golden Valley this season, the two coaching staffs have remained close.

Caropreso will often bounce ideas off Le Grand offensive coordinator Raul Alvarez or vice versa.

Since they run the same offenses, they can share what worked and didn't work against certain defenses.

"It's nice to have someone else to throw suggestions off of," said Caropreso, who was on the Le Grand sideline during the Bulldogs state bowl game last year. "Sometimes it's nice to have reassurances from other people."

The two coaching staffs came together to coach an all-star game in Chowchilla two years ago.

Every summer they do seven-on-seven drills.

"One thing Dennis always talked about was surrounding yourself with great people," Martinez said. "It's not about egos. It's not about me. It's about winning.

"He was able to find those type of coaches wherever he went. That's why we all get a long. We all have the same philosophy."

That's why Martinez is thrilled for the success Caropreso has had after following Stubbs' successful run in Los Banos.

Caropreso has the Tigers one win away from playing for a section title.

"Dustin has been phenomenal," Martinez said. "He's picked up the baton and run with it. He's stuck with the same philosophy and added to it and made it better."

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