High School Football

He wanted to take over the program one day. Now new Pitman coach has his shot

When Lance Weckerle was hired as a teacher at Pitman High School in 2016, he reached out to football coach Tom Tyler.

“I told him I always dreamt about being a head coach at a big-time program,” Weckerle said. “I told him some day I would love to take over the program.”

Well, it has happened as Weckerle was named the Pride’s coach on Monday.

“He fits our needs and is very organized,” Pitman athletic director Dave Walls said. “We are looking for someone that can come in and continue to work hard and keep our boys focused in the right direction and turn young boys into good men and good players.”

Walls said Weckerle, who takes over for Tyler who resigned in mid-March, is familiar with the program since he spent the last three years as the quarterback and wide receivers coach.

He also was a student-teacher on campus in 2009-10.

Weckerle grew up in Yreka, and played quarterback at the College of the Siskiyous and Humboldt State before graduating from Stanislaus State in 2009.

The 34-year-old spent a lot of time listening and watching Tyler “picking” his brain in the last two months.

“He is bright, hardworking, and very positive,” Tyler said. “He knows the passing game very well.”

Despite running a Wing-T offense last year, Weckerle worked with senior quarterback Treyton Fair, who completed over 60 percent of his passes and had 14 touchdowns to just three interceptions.

Weckerle said the plan is to run a little bit of a Wing-T next year but will add some spread offense.

“It’s going to give a defense more trouble,” he said.

He hopes to spread the defenses out and run the ball efficiently.

Tyler, who said when he resigned that he didn’t know if he was completely finished coaching but needed a break, has an offer to coach on staff if he would like, Weckerle said.

“It depends on where he is at,” Weckerle said. “He wants to spend time with his family but I wouldn’t be surprised if he wanted to help a little.”

Spring ball begins next week for the Pride and even though there is a lot to do (finalizing a coaching staff), Weckerle looks forward to making an impact with his first head coaching job.

“I am excited to have a role in the players’ young lives,” he said. “I had a lot of great coaches that mentored me.”

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Julian A. Lopez has been covering local sports for The Modesto Bee since August 2018. He graduated from Arizona State in 2016 with a BA in Journalism.