Jake Messina will be Golden Valley's next varsity football coach.
The former Merced High defensive coordinator was hired after meeting with Golden Valley principal Craig Chavez and Merced Union High School District assistant superintendent Raynee Daley at the district office on Wednesday morning.
"I'm excited," said Messina, who was the defensive coordinator during Merced's three straight Central California Conference championships from 2006- 08. "For me, it's the realization after 15 years of really hard work. It's gratifying."
Messina takes over for Jon Betschart, who was fired after compiling a 9-21 record during his three-year tenure.
"Jake was able to convey his vision for the program and saw the steps that needed to be made to get the program off the ground and get things running," Chavez said. "He's made inroads into the community. He's communicated with former staff members and current staff members about coaching.
"He has plans for the booster organization. Everything was well thought out, and then he has significant experience in big-game situations. He was not the head coach at Merced High, but he had a significant role in coaching during those big games."
Messina coached the offensive and defensive lines at Palo Alto High before coming to Merced in 2002. He coached the defensive line at Merced until he was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2006.
Merced surrendered just over 18 points per game and compiled a 34-5 record, including a trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship game in Messina's three years as defensive coordinator.
Messina stepped away from the Merced program after 2008 season to focus on finding a head coach position.
"This is huge," Messina said. "I was walking into Merced High this morning when I got a call from the athletic director at Santa Clara High School. They are looking for a coach. I was at that point where I was entertaining the idea of moving. This is very timely. I'm glad everything happened as soon as it did."