Strength on the sidelines

Fitness coordinator and strength coach James Sims has been named interim head coach for Pierce football following the firings of former head coach Jason Sabolic and defensive coordinator Torry Hughes last Monday, Sept. 11.

“The kids already know him. He has a good relationship with them,” Athletic Director Moriah Van Norman said. “I think it’s really important at a time like this when you’re going through a transition to make sure the kids at least feel comfortable with the new person.”

Specifics for the firing are still unknown. According to Sabolic and Hughes, it was due to decorum violations during a victory against Los Angeles Southwest College on Sept. 9., a game in which the Brahmas were flagged for five unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

“Sims has been good. He’s bringing in the discipline, and that’s what we need,” quarterback Jonathon Saavedra said. “There’s times where the players are getting in chaotic situations, and it leads to messed up penalties.”

Sims comes in with 19 years of head coaching experience, last coaching at Inglewood High School in 2015 and 2016.

“I’ve been in situations where I’ve been fired. I’ve come in after a coach [was fired],” Sims said. “I understand the emotion for the team.”

Despite the adversity the team has faced this season, Sims believes the season could still have a happy ending.

“We got to mesh together as a family and turn this thing around,” Sims said. “We could write a good story from this if we get it turned around.”

According to assistant coach Lucas Melo, having Sims step in has been a positive.

“Couldn’t ask for anything better,” Melo said. “He came in and let us do what we do and said, ‘We’ll correct things that don’t look very good this week.”