Martinez out, Sabolic in as football team’s head coach

Pierce College Athletic Director Bob Lofrano announced Thursday, Dec. 18, that football head coach Efrain Martinez had been let go from his position.

Lofrano met with some members of the team in the South Gym to inform them about Martinez and to announce who will be taking over the position. Offensive coordinator Jason Sabolic has been promoted to the head coaching position and was also at the meeting to talk with the players.

“It’s unfortunate to step into less-than-normal circumstances,” Sabolic said. “Usually someone moves on, and somebody replaces them and starts with the old staff, but there’s so much that happened and went into the going-ons of last year. It’s a little bit strange right now. But like I said, Feb. 8, it will be all better and we’ll move forward.”

Martinez had been a coach at Pierce since 2004. He started off as the running back coach, then became the offensive coordinator in 2006 before being promoted to head coach in 2007.

He helped lead the team to two American Bowl championships in 2010 and 2013, as well as a Patriotic Bowl championship in 2012. Sabolic has also been with the team for these championships.

Lofrano said there were no violations that led to the administration to remove Martinez from his position.

“There’s no violations, there’s no football violations. Nothing has been broken. No CCCAA rules were broken, which is good,” Lofrano said. “But lack of institutional control, now the institution is football, so lack of control of that institution led to a change to who’s the head coach.”

Sabolic and defensive backs coach Torry Hughes are the only two coaches set to come back for the 2015 football season. Offensive line coach Mike Hoffman and defensive line coach Kort Huettinger resigned from the team last week.

Freshman and former offensive lineman, now fullback Nik Fields said he’s happy that Sabolic was named head coach, but hopes that Pierce will keep Martinez on as a recruiting coordinator.

“He’s [Sabolic] by far my favorite coach from the whole season,” Fields said. “I’m just excited. We’re going to do a lot of stuff like team building.”

Sabolic said the overall team philosophy and treatment of players won’t change next season. He wants to keep it as normal as possible.

“Any change is difficult and so we just get closer as a unit, make sure that we are positively reinforcing the fact that effort is that of the utmost importance and not let your teammates down,” Sabolic said. “Once again kind of just harping on the things guys are getting tired of hearing.”

Sabolic explained that the players will get tired of hearing those things such as going to class, going to weights and to workout, but that’s what needs to happen.

“It’s a new chapter in Pierce’s history and hopefully it’ll be a fun and exciting one,” Sabolic said.