When replacing an iconic coach at any level or sport, continuity can be of the utmost importance.
Such was the case when longtime legendary Foothill football coach Matt Sweeney stepped down recently. Saying whoever took over the Foothill program had big shoes to fill is a vast understatement.
Where did that leave Foothill to go? Obviously, you want a quality coach, but at the same time, you want to find someone who keeps the iconic status of the Foothill program alive and well.
It looks like the Falcons have done just that with the hiring of Foothill teacher Greg Haubner to guide the football program that Sweeney built.
Much along the same lines as Amador Valley did when officials there hired former Dons quarterback Danny Jones to take over for longtime coach Rick Sira a couple years back, the answer for Foothill was right on the campus.
For Haubner, it's the perfect situation.
"I talked with both (Sweeney) and John (Mannion, another former Foothill coach) and to be able to coach at a place where your kids go to school is a career goal," said Haubner, who currently has a freshman daughter at Foothill.
Haubner was an assistant coach with the varsity Foothill Falcons and is a teacher at the school as well. He spent six seasons as the head coach at Livermore from 2010-15, all the while maintaining his economics teaching job at Foothill.
Having coached with Sweeney, as well as against him, Haubner knows the daunting task in front of him. And he also knows he needs to be realistic in his approach to the job.
"Matty has set the bar so unbelievably high," Haubner said. "He's the best coach I have ever seen -- just a fantastic coach. Moving forward, I can only focus on working hard and being the best coach, I can be."
There was no shortage of qualified applicants for the job, but to me Haubner was the right choice on many levels. He certainly has the skill set to be a successful coach, but perhaps even more important -- he's an on-campus coach.
Haubner spent his six years as an off-campus coach at Livermore while working at Foothill. There were trials and tribulations, but there was also room for growth.
"It was a totally different experience (at Livermore)," he said. "I had to improve my communication skills and it made me a better coach. Being on campus is great, especially with the numbers in football."
Haubner knows comparisons with Sweeney are inevitable, as is the case in life with any results driven endeavor. He also knows he needs to put his stamp on the program while maintaining the integrity instilled by Sweeney.
"Like anything else, you keep some things and change some," Haubner said. "But the ID for Foothill is 'battle,' and that will always be the same. We will speak in the same language."
Foothill girls soccer
Foothill entered the final week of the regular season looking to improve their North Coast Section seeding and an offensive attack that had been struggling.
In their first game of the week of Feb. 5, the Falcons started quick and took an early 1-0 lead over Livermore with Megan Guerra getting the goal.
The Falcons were able to maintain the advantage throughout the first half and well into the second before Livermore tied it, leaving the match as a 1-1 final.
On Senior Night for the Falcons, the match against cross rival Amador was tight all the way ending in a 1-1 draw. Amador took the lead, but Foothill answered quickly, tying it off a Taylor Noval goal from close range.
That result, along with the earlier victory over the Dons, helped propel the Falcons to the top of the East Bay Athletic League's Valley Division and a third-place overall EBAL finish for Foothill.