Central Valley of Ceres begins search for new head football coach after McCloskey announces resignation

jcortez@modbee.comFebruary 20, 2014 

— There’s yet another opening in the Stanislaus District’s high school football coaching ranks.

Jason McCloskey, who guided Central Valley to its first Sac-Joaquin Section playoff appearance last season, will not return as the Hawks’ coach next season.

McCloskey informed the Ceres Unified School District of his resignation as a physical education teacher, effective at the end of this school year, after classes on Wednesday, and the district posted the job later that afternoon.

Central Valley now joins Modesto Christian (looking to replace Steve Gleason), Beyer (Bill Flesher) and Livingston (Chris Lacey) in the hunt for coaches.

Grace Davis hired Tim Garcia on Jan. 15 to replace Chris Cloward, who resigned after three seasons at the helm.

“There’s nothing else to say other than I resigned for personal reasons,” said McCloskey, who posted an 11-10 record in two seasons as head coach. “I was going to (resign) later in the month, but there was a nasty rumor that I’d gotten fired as the coach. That simply wasn’t the case, in no way, shape or form.”

Denise Wickham, Deputy Superintendent at Ceres Unified School District, confirmed that the school is looking for a new coach and will be taking applications until March 5.

“Typically, we have it open for two weeks,” said Wickham of the job-posting process. “The principal of the school runs the posting for as long as needed to attract a qualified applicant.

“We’ve got six applications already.”

McCloskey and the Hawks nearly pulled off the biggest upset of the season on Nov. 15 when they gave eventual Division 3 champion Manteca a first-round scare before losing 69-55 in the most exciting game of the season.

In McCloskey’s read-option offense, running back Ja’Quan Gardner, The Bee’s 2013 Player of the Year, had the biggest season of his illustrious career, rushing for 2,467 yards and 27 touchdowns. In addition, quarterback Kendel Johnson rushed for more than 1,000 yards.

McCloskey said he still wants to coach and has interest in the jobs at Beyer and Mountain House, which will open in the fall of 2014.

“I’m kind of taking a leap of faith here,” said McCloskey. “Hopefully, God puts me in a position where I can concentrate on building a program. I’m a dedicated guy and coaching is what I love to do. It’s my passion.”

Bee staff writer Joe Cortez can be reached at jcortez@modbee.com or (209) 578-2380. Follow him on Twitter @ModBeePreps.

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