Robert Cendro has been a part of Sonora High athletics for a long time.
He graduated from the foothill school in 1975, and came back in 1990. After serving as the school's football coach for 15 of the last 17 years, he's moving on.
Cendro has accepted the football head coaching job at San Marcos High in the San Diego Section to be closer to his son, Marcus, who is a student at San Diego State.
"I was truly blessed to be at Sonora for so long," Cendro said. "But the big thing is being closer to my son. He's going to stay down there, and he's very important to us."
Cendro compiled a 108-55-1 career record with the Wildcats, the most of any coach in the school's history. His teams won three Valley Oak League championships while advancing to the playoffs 10 times.
"It's tough to lose such a quality person as Robert," Sonora athletic director Rick Francis said. "He's not only a great coach but he's also a great teacher."
Cendro's teams ran the option on offense and were one of the first programs in the Stanislaus District to run the 3-3-5 defensive formation.
While the Wildcats were successful under Cendro's watch, he said he'll think of the kids the most.
"I'll remember the relationships with the kids," he said. "You can't trade that for anything.
"Sonora's truly a special place."
Cendro is stepping into a rebuilding situation. San Marcos has won four games in six years. The Knights went 2-8 last season.
"It's definitely going to be a rebuilding situation," Cendro said.
Francis said San Marcos picked the right guy.
"I know he's going to turn that program around," he said. "He's done great things here and he'll do great things down there as well."
Francis said there's a process to go through to find Cendro's replacement.
First, Cendro officially will submit his resignation to the school board. After that, the job will be opened to school employees. Should no school employees apply for the job, it will be opened up. Cendro is the only teacher on the Sonora coaching staff.
"Having a teacher-coach is the way to do it if you can,"
Cendro said. "I know whoever steps in they're going to do fine."
But Cendro will still be a tough person to replace.
"He's been a big part of this school for a very long time," Francis said. "He's affected a lot of lives in a positive way.
"We're going to miss him."