Bearcats News · Podley says “thank you” for his 20 years at Bonita High School

After 40 years in education, the past 20 at Bonita High School, it is finally time to say goodbye. As I look back on my career I am overwhelmed by the amount of support I was provided by so many people.  It is impossible to thank everyone, but I hope you will indulge me as I try to recognize as many of the people who contributed to my career as possible in this short space. I apologize in advance to those I neglect to mention but know I have appreciated your support.


First I would like to thank the many assistant coaches who contributed to our success over the years. At Bonita I had the privilege of being the Head Football Coach for 13 years resulting in the longest tenure of any head football coach at Bonita. Thanks to dedicated players and supportive parents we won 8 Smudge Pot games and played for a CIF Championship.  Ray Medina proved to be the best Defensive Coordinator in the business.  His loyalty and dedication are unsurpassed.  Ron Reclusado, Dave Flores, Ernie Vasquez, David Musa, Adrian Medrano, Kevin Knosp, Mitchell Pike, Derek Donoho and Jason Wells helped create outstanding defenses.  On offense LT Gardner, Andrew Rodriguez, Josh Koepfer, Chuck Chastain, Tony Arriola, Hector Mendoza, Jason Thomas and Jason Reyes developed exciting offenses over the years. Lenny Rodriguez, Mt. Sac Assistant, served as an expert consultant and consigliere for many years.


I have always believed that running a football program is like running a small corporation.  It takes a large number of people to put a team on the field. Dave Boscarino was always there for the football program and worked hard to keep our facilities in top condition. Danny Reyes kept our players safe with well-maintained and modern equipment. Our team doctors, Dr. Chandler and Dr. Phong Bui, volunteered their time to provide medical care to our players. Our Athletic Trainers, Nicole Penrod and Michelle Okayama Ph.D. treated countless injuries and worked to return players back to competition. Bruce Becker, along with Mark Shores, John Normington, and others ran the chain crew and scoreboard operations on a volunteer basis. Mike Carrillo, Cliff Wurst, John and Tim Campa, and others kept accurate stats for the team. Bob Turner and Gabe Sanchez were the announcers for our games with Larry Thompson and Joe Hurst doing the spotting. Brandi Kniss led the cheerleaders and Jeff Bird directed the band. Our Booster Club kept our team in business by raising the money to run the corporation. Our Booster Presidents, Albert Behr, Robin Williams, Linda Ortega, Susanna Munson, Rebecca Flores and Kim Salce worked tirelessly to provide the team with everything we needed.


The Bearcat football team was aided by many hard-working and talented stat girls who ran the administrative aspects of the team.  Many helped the program long after they graduated. It is impossible to name them all, but I would like to recognize a few.  Erin Clark Moffitt and Marissa Ford became teachers in the district for Roynan and Ekstrand Elementary schools. Ashlie Venegas is the Receptionist at Bonita High School.  Deanna Hanke Mollard is the Clerk at Roynon Elementary. Anna Anderson and Jenna Carrillo McCanless became nurses. Chrissy Normington, Brittany Garcia, Kaleigh Shepard, Jill Loy, Kaitlyn Tolan, Katie O’Malley, Karisa Crawford, Lauren Briones, Valerie Campos and so many others kept the organization moving.


I would also like to thank Tony and Naomi Spencer and the T.Phillips crew for supporting our team over the years. They hosted numerous team breakfasts and were always willing to help in any way they could. John Diaz, Donny Fuqua, Steve Taylor and Aaron Jancan never missed a game and always supported the team and coaches.


Football programs cannot be successful without administrative support.  Bob Ketterling was always the most supportive Principal and provided excellent leadership and mentorship throughout our time together at Northview and Bonita.  Gary Rapkin developed and nourished leadership throughout the Bonita Unified School District and was a pleasure to work with.  Derek Bub became a good friend and partner in accomplishing many projects during his short time at Bonita. Assistant Superintendent Kevin Lee Ed.D is providing great direction and leadership as he supervises the athletic programs and personnel in the district.  It was a pleasure to work with Kitt Holk as Co-Athletic Directors at Bonita.  She made sure things were done the right way for the right reasons.


I am very proud of the many physical improvements we were able to make during my tenure at Bonita. These included:  resurfacing of the track, weight room expansion, installation of a new artificial football field (x2), new stadium lights, remodel of the stadium with new bleachers + press box, the building of the new gym, building the wrestling room, softball field bleacher improvements, branding of the football team room, gym murals  + lighting, remodeled student union, new classroom furniture, new office furniture and murals, new furniture in the administration conference room, new football scoreboard, new baseball scoreboard, new pool scoreboard, and a new softball scoreboard. We were also able to install a new crosswalk and streetlight on Evergreen Ave.  These projects were accomplished through the leadership of Robert Harrison, Dane Curtis and Susan Hume at Bonita Unified. Don Roberts and the CSEA have played a vital role in approving and maintaining each of these projects.   None of these projects could have been done without the partnership with the City of La Verne and the help of Bill Aguirre, Chad Peterson, Don Kendrick, and Tim Hepburn.


I want to thank my current colleagues in the Athletic Department and the Assistant Principal’s Office.  Michelle Castro, Brandi Sullivan, Debbi Powell, and Ashley Venegas have gone above and beyond the call of duty to support the Athletic/Facilities departments and keep me out of trouble.  Darren Baumunk and Michelle Okayama have become outstanding Athletic Directors and great friends. We have had the privilege of hiring some outstanding coaches at Bonita. These have included John Knott, Tim Godley, Johnny Deryeghiayan, Steve Bogan, Ryan Marcos, and many others.   They will lead the department with integrity and a progressive look to the future. I want to thank Chad Green for his help in creating the Athletic Department’s social media program and website.  With his help and creativity, the became the most viewed high school athletic website in California and in the top 10 in the United States. We were able to feature hundreds of Bonita athletes and highlight their accomplishments.


Eva Bustos, Fidel Soria, Momi Britt, Frank Briones, Theresa (in the kitchen), and all the other facility crew members are the unsung heroes at Bonita.  Janet Murphy, Kelly Odriozola, John Langilotti and the other Campus Supervisors are the glue that keeps Bonita together.  They are all people of character who go beyond the expected to make Bonita a great place for students.


It is with great pride that a number of former assistants have become head coaches.  These include:


Adrian Medrano         Athletic Director / Head Football Coach        El Rancho HS

Chuck Chastain           Head Football Coach                                      Norco HS

Bill Zernickow             Head Football Coach                                      Northview, San Dimas

Todd Quinsey              Head Football Coach                                       Northview, Glendora

Gary Day                     Head Football Coach                                      Glendora

Derek Donoho            Athletic Director                                             Don Lugo HS


I am also proud of the former players who have entered the coaching profession and the assistants who now coach in college football. These include:


Marcel Perez               Head Football Coach                                      Northview HS

Demetrius Martin       Defensive Backs                                             Un. Of Colorado

Jason Reyes                 Quarterback Coach                                        Occidental College

Marc Odin                   Associate HC/ Defensive Coord.                 Claremont McKenna

Garrett Pendelton       Assistant Coach                                              Simi Valley HS

Mitchell Pike               Assistant Coach/Head Golf Coach              Bonita High School

Duane Gotti                Assistant Coach                                                Bonita High School

Eric Ascencio               Assistant Coach                                               Bonita High School

Gabe Quintero            Assistant Coach                                               Bonita High School

Doug Griffith               Assistant Coach                                               Bonita High School

Erik LeVay                   Head Soccer Coach                                         San Dimas High

Jeff Wiese                   Assistant Coach                                                Northview HS



A coach’s career is really measured by his players.  During my career there have been many memorable players.  At Bonita, we cannot forget the players we lost at far too young an age. These players included Kevin Normington, Brandon Siegler, Tim Thomas and Evan Highley.  Bonita produced a number of outstanding players including (in no particular order) Shane White, Allen Dade, Manuel Espinoza, Nick Pichotta, Spencer Hoff, Ryan Ramirez, Kory Johnson, Pablo Garay, Reggie Turner, Courtney Hawkins, Blake La Rue, Jason Wells, Cody Maldonado, Shawn McCauley, Brett and Mike Williams, Tommy Musa, Reggie Turner, Giamani Johnson. K.C. Huth, Eric Mikity, Tanner Zylstra, Garret and Casey Horine, Jeff Chavez, Garret Pendleton, Tarez Lemmons, Curtis Gold, Alex and Andrew Rocha, Johnny Cortez, Mike Hooper, Mike Ortega, Cole Sanders, Mike Bentz, Tanner Diebold, Jeff-Matt-Danny Gelalich, Zach Braumgard, Danny Arellano, Littleton Gardner, Terry Parades, Ron Bone, Brandon Odle, John Reif, Jake Mowdy, John Beaucar, Ruben McQueen, Thomas Munson, Cameron Salce, Nathon Burgett, Austin Venegas, Daniel Harriman, Austin Venegas, Martin Rico, Cody McKenzie, Mason and Morgan Ruiz and a host of others. I remember Greg Spathias and his unselfish efforts that helped lead us to a CIF Championship. His character really stands the test of time. The 2010 team’s effort in the final game continues to inspire me to this day. Derrick McCanless went on to graduate from the United States Naval Academy and flies helicopters today for the Navy. There are many more players I could and should mention except for the constraints of time. I can never thank the players enough for their efforts and belief in our system, staff, and school.


Thank you for indulging me in this exercise.  I appreciate Bonita for its unending desire to reach for excellence with character and spirit. I wish you all the greatest success in the future.

Eric Podley