High School Sports

January 24, 2012

Stubbs returning to Golden Valley football

Dennis Stubbs is ready for another challenge. This one is taking him back to Golden Valley.

The school announced on Tuesday that Stubbs has been hired as head football coach.

Stubbs, 52, was the Cougars' coach from 1995-2006, before leaving to take over at Los Banos.

"I think what drives me is the challenge and the process of building something," Stubbs said. "It came time for me and my wife to figure out what direction to go for the last part of my career. As I started thinking about it, and talking to people, this opportunity became more and more interesting."

Stubbs returns to Golden Valley with a career record of 124-83-1. He led the Cougars to three Central California Conference titles and two Sac-Joaquin Section championship game appearances in his first 12-year stint at the school.

Golden Valley was 16-34 the last five years under Jon Betschart and Jake Messina.

Stubbs turned around a struggling Los Banos program that had won just five games combined in the three years prior to his arrival. Under Stubbs, Los Banos won two league championships and made four playoff appearances. The Tigers were 36-21 during Stubbs' five-year tenure.

Stubbs informed the Los Banos players of his decision on Tuesday. He leaves behind a talented team that should return eight starters on offense. He also endorsed assistant Dustin Caropreso as his successor.

"That was one of the hardest things I've ever done," Stubbs said of Tuesday's meeting. "It was pretty emotional.

"I hope they give Dustin Caropreso the job. He's done so much for me. That way I can stay on top of it like I do with Le Grand.

"I was thrilled with the opportunity at Los Banos. I can't thank Dan Martin, the principal, the community and the players enough. We had it going on there."

Stubbs acknowledged the drive from Merced to Los Banos did play a part in his decision. He felt he lacked energy this past season and felt guilty for not sticking around to watch entire freshmen games.

He also pointed out Golden Valley's Veterans Stadium and the weight room -- each additions since he last coached at GV -- as items that helped lure him back.

"I still haven't seen the new stadium or weight room," Stubbs said. "I'm dying to see them."

Stubbs was one of 21 applicants for the Golden Valley job. The five finalists were interviewed on Friday.

"Dennis has all of the qualities we were looking for to lead our program," Golden Valley principal Costa Aguilar said in a statement. "Dennis is a great role model for our students and is well respected within our community and among the Cougar staff."

One of the next steps for Stubbs will be restocking his closet with Cougars apparel.

"I don't think I have anything left," he said. "If I don't wear anything for a couple weeks my wife throws it out."

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