Foothill High alum and assistant coach Johnny Millard always aspired to run a high school football program; he just didn't know when he would get a chance.
Well, the day has arrived, as Milliard officially became the next head coach of the Monte Vista High football program late last month.
Millard replaces former UC Berkeley and NFL player C.J. Anderson, who coached the Mustangs to a 7-3 (2-2) record in his one season in Danville before heading to Rice University as an assistant coach.
"I couldn't be more fired up," Millard said. "It's tough leaving Foothill. I cannot stress enough how much respect I have for Foothill and all the school has done for me, but Monte Vista is a great fit."
Millard, a graduate of Foothill (2009) and Cal Poly (2013), where he starred for both football teams, is part of the iconic Foothill legacy.
"Johnny and his dad are royalty around Foothill, like the Maddens," Foothill head coach Greg Haubner said. "Both Johnny and his father have been a gift to Foothill."
Haubner was referring to Johnny's father Keith Millard, a 1980 Foothill graduate who went on to star at Washington State where he was the PAC-10's Defensive Lineman of the Year in the 1983-84 season.
Keith went on to a nine-year NFL career after being taken with the 13th pick of the first round in the 1984 NFL Draft. In 1989, he was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Keith is staying with the Foothill staff with his senior son Kade still in the program.
With the appointment of taking over the Monte Vista program, Johnny Millard is realizing a life-long dream.
"I knew I always wanted to be a football coach," Millard said. "I started coaching my brother's PJFL team eight years ago, and that was a humbling experience."
Millard has had options in his coaching path, working in college and perhaps eventually in the professional ranks, but he is right where he wants to be.
"For me, coaching high school is the sweet spot," said Johnny. "This is such an important part of a kid's life -- it gives me a chance to coach football, but also the kids as they grow."
High school athletics are the most formative years of an athlete's maturation. They start as a 13- to 14-year old and leave as an 18-year-old young adult.
"If we have a player that wants to go on and play college, we will do everything we can to help them achieve those goals," Millard explained. "But high school athletics are so much more than that. The fulfillment part of life -- there's a perfect blend of it in high school."
Millard is busy putting together his staff in hopes of hitting the ground running in the ultra-competitive East Bay Athletic League.
Monte Vista is, at least for the next season, in the Mountain Division with De La Salle, Clayton Valley, San Ramon Valley, California and Amador Valley.
It's a brutal grind for your debut season.
"That's what any EBAL school faces," Millard said of the daunting task. "I'm just working on putting the right people together to build on it. There are some that are already in the program and some to bring in that are my own guys."
One thing that will make Millard's first season easier is that the Falcons and the Mustangs will not face each other.
"It's going to be fun," Millard said, about when the two teams finally do meet for the first time with him at the helm. "It's not going to happen this year, which might be a good thing for Thanksgiving with my dad and brother."
The 15-1 Falcons took the title of the Service Champions Classic, going 3-0 last week.
The wins were 2-0 over Berean Christian, 10-3 over Northgate and 6-2 over Redwood in the title game.
Jack Basseer was the MVP of the tournament. For the season, Basseer has six home runs. Brendan Comerford was named to the All-Tournament Team, hitting .420.
On the season Foothill is getting big efforts from its pitchers. Tyler Gebb is 7-0 and has a 1.25 ERA. Jackson Flora is 4-1 with a 1.30 ERA.
The Falcons won one and lost one the week of March 28.
The week started with a tough, 7-6 loss to Clayton Valley. The goals came from by Wyatt Lam (2), Darrin Lau (2), Darraugh Kennedy and Ro Bharanidharan. The defense was led by Bennett Zander, Josh Taylor and Nathan Kinsey. Midfielders Trevor Barros and Jack May also played well.
The week ended on a high note as Foothill beat Dublin 6-2.
The Falcons got goals from Kennedy, AJ Becker (2), Lau (2) and junior Jake Morgan. Mikey Paulson was great in the goal, with midfielders Jake Clevenger and Sean Flanagin playing well, as did Zander, Taylor and Kinsey on defense.
Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his Pleasanton Preps column, email [email protected]