Golden Valley High officially announced Rick Martinez as the Cougars new head football coach on Tuesday morning. Martinez takes over for longtime coach Dennis Stubbs, who recently stepped down.
The decision to promote Martinez was a no-brainer for Golden Valley principal Kevin Swartwood. Martinez has 12 years of head coaching experience at Le Grand, where he led the Bulldogs to four consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section championships from 2010-2013, including an appearance in the state championship in 2011.
"We're extremely fortunate to have a guy like Rick Martinez on staff," Swartwood said. "You think about wanting to put all the time and energy into being a head coach and now a days we don't get those career teacher/coaches anymore. We used to find them regularly. Now coaches do it for a few years and then they're not in it anymore.
"There's not a lot of guys like Rick Martinez out there."
Never miss a local story.
Martinez, 45, resigned from Le Grand after the 2013 season to come to Golden Valley and has served as an assistant coach with Stubbs the past four seasons.
"It's one of those things where you have to be ready when called," Martinez said. "We knew it was going to happen soon. I was kind of hoping to wait a year because my son, Ryan, just got a scholarship and it's senior year playing at UC Davis. But you've got to jump in it when it's time.
"We decided to make the transition one year earlier. This will be the transition year where me and Dennis switch roles. I've learned so much from him. He got me into this business way back in 1994."
Martinez replaces a fellow coaching lifer in Stubbs, who spent 24 years as a head football coach with stints at Le Grand, Golden Valley and Los Banos. He retires with a career record of 139-131-1.
Stubbs replaced another coaching legend in Mark Speckman in 1995, just one year after Golden Valley opened. In his first year as the Cougars head coach, Stubbs led GV to the Sac-Joaquin Section championship game where the Cougars lost to Jesuit 21-19.
Stubbs led Golden Valley back to another section championship game where the Cougars lost 33-13 to a loaded Grant team.
Martinez spent the past four years as Stubbs' defensive coordinator. Stubbs will stay on the staff next year as Martinez's defensive coordinator.
"I've got a lot of respect for Dennis," Swartwood said. "As someone who has done it and not as long as him. The guys like Dennis and Rob Scheidt (Merced), I have a lot of respect for those guys who have given up so much time and energy for a long time."
Stubbs left Golden Valley after the 2006 season and spend five years coaching at Los Banos, leading the Tigers to two league championships and four postseason appearances. The Tigers were 36-21 under Stubbs from 2007-2011.
Stubbs was never able to gain any momentum since his return to Golden Valley in 2012. During his second stint as Cougars coach, GV's best record was 5-5 in 2016.
"I think we have to return to some of the basics," Martinez said. "We've got to get back to being disciplined, being physical and being smart. We've got to get this going in the right direction. We've got a good group of kids coming up. We've got to hit the ground running and do it fast."