Larry Muno became a candidate for the St. Monica football coaching job with an attitude of “there’s no place to go but up.”
He took head on the reality that three previous coaches combined to win only one of 38 games.
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“I’m ready for the challenge,” he says. “I’m here because I see an opportunity to make a difference. I really feel confident.”
St. Monica’s football teams have staggered so much in the last four years that it would be easy to conclude there’s apathy in the school’s administration. That may have been true but Muno says it’s not the case anymore.
He’s been permitted to bring in a staff of assistant coaches and says that alone shows the administration cares
“We want people to know there’s been a change in that area,” he says.
Muno replaces Sean Ritter, who was fired following a 1-9 season, the victory coming against Salesian High in the final game.
After that win snapped the longest losing streak of any high school team in California Ritter was happy that about 10 students who hadn’t played football were coming out for the ’09 team. The coach thought things were turning around and was anxious to return.
But the administration had other ideas. The job was opened for interviews and when Muno became a finalist he was interviewed four times. The fact that he’s CYO Director for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and will continue in that role was a factor. He works with athletes who have yet to choose a high school.
Muno, who was a linebacker at Rutgers, has studied the spread offense so much that he’s going to install it at St. Monica although that will represent a major change for the players.
“It’s not difficult to learn,” he says “I believe we’ll have a high octane offense that will be a lot of fun. The ball will be in the air a lot.”
Much will depend on the play of Sam Holguin, who received some experience at quarterback last season as a sophomore playing behind a senior.
Although it’s not definite he’ll be the starter that seems likely.
However, Muno will have to replace several linemen who were the strength of the offense and star runner Hector Sanfiesteban.
With the new players joining returnees and youngsters from the junior varsity Muno expects 60 players to be part of the program. That’s a high number for a small school that hasn’t won much lately.
St. Monica excels in other sports and used to do well in football. And although the school doesn’t permit recruiting strictly for athletics its strong academics will be emphasized to prospective enrollees.
“We’re extremely affordable too,” Muno observes.
Muno considers it a strength that St. Monica will play several home games at Corsair Field for the second straight season.
Previously, all home games were played at St. Bernard High in Playa del Rey. Being visible in Santa Monica is regarded as important.