Willow Glen to make football coaching change for remainder of the season

Willow Glen to make football coaching change for remainder of the season

Willow Glen football coach Oscar Caballero has lost his job for at least the rest of the season after an incident last week with a crew member holding the sideline yard markers.

In an email from the San Jose Unified School District sent to parents during the team’s home game Friday night, the district said it received the final report from the Central Coast Section and “will be making a coaching change for the Willow Glen High varsity football team for the remainder of the season.”

The district added that San Jose Unified, the CCS, and the California Interscholastic Federation “expect coaches, players, officials, and fans to exhibit good sportsmanship at all contests. Unsportsmanlike conduct should be reported to game officials. San José Unified recognizes the league (CCS) as the governing body for athletic competitions and fully supports (CCS’s) rulings.”

The district’s release also said Willow Glen High is working to identify an interim head football coach for the remainder of the season and that coaches will meet with the varsity team Monday “to communicate the change in coaches.”

During a game last weekend at Leland High, Caballero picked up the pace as he walked down the sideline and appeared to make contact with a crew member holding the yard markers. The crew member, according to Willow Glen parents, was violating rules by videotaping with his phone.

The officials on the field did not see the incident between the coach and the crew member, a Leland parent, because the confrontation occurred as a play was about to begin.

The parent was removed from the crew because he had been warned about videotaping and Caballero coached the remainder of the game.

But after a video surfaced showing the altercation, the CCS office had the officials association review the incident and make a ruling from what it saw. The video the section office has is not grainy.

“It was determined that he would be ejected for assaultive behavior,” CCS commissioner Dave Grissom told the Bay Area News Group on Saturday. “CIF Bylaw 503 M is very clear. If a coach is removed or ejected for fighting, assaultive behavior, or gross misconduct, that coach is suspended for the remainder of the year. Period.”

Grissom added that there is an appeals process.

As of midday Saturday, the CCS had not received an appeal from Willow Glen.

Efforts by Bay Area News Group to contact Caballero and a San Jose Unified representative for comment on Saturday were not immediately successful.

The district, not CCS, will determine if Caballero returns next season. He has coached Willow Glen’s varsity team since 2009.

According to the CIF bylaw, a coach cannot return for violations such as assaultive behavior until the school’s principal notifies the section office that the principal and coach have met to “discuss future behavioral expectations.”

Willow Glen’s parents rallied around Caballero during the week, saying that the coach grabbed the man’s phone and the man tripped over the chains.

“Coach Caballero did not assault the parent volunteer,” Bryan Holmes, writing on behalf of the parents, said in the email addressed to Willow Glen principal Amy Hanna on Wednesday. “He walked over to him after multiple players reported to him that he was videotaping them and their play calling process and slapped the phone he was video recording with out of his hand, which caused him to step back and trip over the chain.”

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Friday, the team was coached by assistants Aaron Lewis and BK Robertson and beat visiting Overfelt in thrilling fashion, 42-38, on Homecoming night.

Riley Warren caught a 25-yard touchdown pass with seven seconds left to win the game for the Rams as they improved to 3-1.

Earlier Friday, the district said that the team’s head coach had been suspended while the investigation unfolded. It did not name Caballero specifically.