Sira stepping away from 30 years of coaching at Amador Valley High

'Every kid that had a chance to play for Sira is a better person for having that opportunity'

To be a coach in this era at the high school level is nothing short of a can't win situation. No matter how your season turns out, someone is still going to be upset.

Undefeated and win the league title? Well someone's precious child did not get enough playing time and in turn that respective coach ruined the child's high school career, severely hurt their chance to play in college and honestly ruined their chance to be a professional athlete.

You think I am kidding? It has gotten so bad, that especially in areas of privilege, this attitude has trickled down into youth sports. It has gotten so bad that after spending 40 years around sports of all levels, I have steadfastly maintained the only place I would want to coach now is in an orphanage.

So for a coach to spend 30 years coaching in this area, especially in the ultra-popular sport of football, they have to be one of the bravest individuals and be able to separate the good of the game from the helicopter parents.

Such is the case with former Amador Valley football coach Rick Sira. Sira, who retired as an administrator at Amador in the last couple of years, recently made the decision to step away from the football program as well. All those years and all those hours put into building the Amador program is something he won't have to deal with any longer.

But he will be missed, plain and simple. There were great seasons, championships and as is always the case, there were some tough years. But the undeniable truth is, every kid that had a chance to play for Sira is a better person for having that opportunity.

He stressed accountability, not just to yourself, but to your teammates as well. In an era of "me-first", Sira went the other way and basically said, "look to your left, look to your right, these are your brothers – embrace it."

It was my absolute pleasure to be able to talk with Sira over the years about Amador football, but what I cherished the most was our conversations that had nothing to do with football specifically, but rather how his players had grown into young men. You see I coached a great many of his players in youth sports throughout the years and it was always special to hear how so many of them were becoming fine young men.

There is no shortage of parents that feel it was an honor for their kids to play for Sira. Something far more than a win-loss record, it was how they were coached as people that resonates. There certainly are other coaches still coaching that bring these qualities to coaching and when they step away, I will be the first to extoll their virtues. It is great to see so many young coaches come into the industry with the right values, but I am scared they will get chased out by the over-zealous parents. A coach can be a brick wall when dealing with certain parents, but beat on a wall long enough and eventually something has to give.

The saving grace for Amador football at this point is that I know "retired" means, "I won't be there 12 hours a day." But I fully expect Sira will be around the program for the next few years and all those associated will benefit. Cheers Rick and enjoy your time with your family!


The Foothill varsity sent four wrestlers to the North Coast Section meet last Friday and Saturday at James Logan High in Union City. Sophomore Cameron Ghoddoucy finished in eighth place after going 0-2 as a freshman. Junior Justin Phillips had a good weekend as well, finishing in sixth place.

Freshman Seyong Chang battled to a 2-2 mark and junior Jeevan Bal finished 1-2.

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28 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 1, 2016 at 8:11 am

"BIG TEAM. little me." Great coach. Sad to see him go.

33 people like this
Posted by Teri Bush
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Mar 1, 2016 at 1:18 pm

Thank you Rick for your time and service to AVHS and to the community as a whole. You have made a significant impact on many young lives. You will be missed. Good luck and enjoy your next adventure.

15 people like this
Posted by derek
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 1, 2016 at 2:38 pm

I could have sworn coach sira started when I was at amador and I graduated in 1974?
Coach will be truly missed. And thanks for a great note Dennis.

37 people like this
Posted by Scott peters
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2016 at 8:02 pm

30 years!! Amazing. Coach Sira has inspired so many young men to become the best they can be, not just in football, but in life. I was fortunate enough to play for coach Sira at Amador and a number of years after that (D1 college and pro) and I have made many other coaches along the way, but Rick Sira is truly the cornerstone of what I believe is important (and often missing in todays society) in a head football coach. Thank you Coach Sira for providing your blueprint for so many of us over the years. For the critics out there who have something negative to say about Rick Sira, your view from the armchair isn't as good as my view. Amador and the Pleasanton community was blessed to have Coach Sira lead the football program for 3 decades and his shoes will be impossible to fill. Congrats Coach for your great run and thank you for the lessons and the memories. Scott Peters, class of 1997

10 people like this
Posted by Bonnie
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 1, 2016 at 8:10 pm

"Big team, little me" Rick Sira was not just a leader on the field but he was a mentor bringing these players from young boys to young men. Though my son may not have been the star of the team he was equally treated by Coach and expected to behave as such. We had the good fortune to be involved with the team's "perfect" season, (2005?) it was a tremendous time for the boys and their families. We made life long friends through football and Coach Sira will always be an important part of my son's development. I used to wish he could coach Spanish and math as well, the boys never worked as hard as they did for Coach Sira. Congratulations, Rick. Thanks for the memories!

17 people like this
Posted by Patrick Gerigk
a resident of another community
on Mar 2, 2016 at 2:07 am

Thank you so much Rick Sira for being a great Coach, Mentor, Teacher and first and foremost Person. I had the privilege to play wide receiver for the 1990 Amador valley High School varsity team under coach Sira. He gave me an opportunity to excel at football and helped me to go on to play at the collegiate and pro level. I wish you all the best Coach. BIG TEAM little me!!!

20 people like this
Posted by Lori J Rice
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 2, 2016 at 10:38 am

Rick Sira is an amazing man who has been the heart of AVHS for years. I hope that someone starts a campaign to rename the football stadium "Rick Sira Stadium"... he deserves that honor!

11 people like this
Posted by Jenn (McCarty) Bartolo
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 2, 2016 at 11:03 am

What a great coach, teacher & man! He was my track coach when I went to Amador, and my son Mason Bartolo got to play football for him for these past two years! Sad Coach won't be there for Mason's senior year or for when my other son Cole Bartolo is coming up to Amador next year frown emoticon But congrats Rick Sira on touching so many lives for so many years - you deserve the peace & rest!

7 people like this
Posted by avhs grads
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 2, 2016 at 6:33 pm

We have always loved Coach Sira! He was the best coach we had at Amador hands down. He represents the best you want to be as a player and person.He had the best run team organization on campus.

4 people like this
Posted by faustjonson
a resident of Village High School
on Mar 3, 2016 at 6:00 am

A cool !

6 people like this
Posted by The Cruz Family
a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 5, 2016 at 1:11 pm

What superlatives can be used that have not already been said. All we can say is that the caring and compassion Coach Sira gave to our boys he gave to all. He imprinted that caring into the many coaches that were his former players that all came back to help. His coaching tree is only beginning to grow larger and larger. The adage of taking a village to raise a child is so true and we in our family are so glad that Rick Sira was in the same village with us.

Like this comment
Posted by accountability
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2016 at 6:31 pm

"Accountability?" Really? I guess that applied only to the kids. He left the football program $48k in debt. That is unconscionable and a total disgrace. He should have to pay it back with the bloated pension he is now receiving. Another sad example of public employees run amok. Thanks Mr. Sira.

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