Wed. Jan. 9, Cesar Rivas-Sandoval announced his resignation from the position of head coach of the football program at Fort Lewis College.
Rivas-Sandoval was the head coach at FLC for 3 seasons, with 15 years of college coaching and playing experience.
Rivas-Sandoval also helped lead FLC to its first winning season in 20 years as the defensive coordinator during the 2004-’05 season.
“Cesar is an outstanding coach, and even better person,” said Gary Hunter, the FLC athletic director. “He is committed to the well-being of students, both academically and athletically.”
Leading up to his resignation, Hunter and Rivas-Sandoval had meetings that reviewed the performance of players on and off of the field during Rivas-Sandoval’s three seasons as head coach, Hunter said.
“Academically, his team performed very well,” he said. “Last fall they were between a 2.5 and a 2.6, and that’s a pretty good grade point average for an excess of 100 football players.”
Both Rivas-Sandoval and Hunter felt that they were not achieving the success on the football field that they had hoped for, Hunter said.
It was mutually agreed by the two that Hunter would accept Rivas-Sandoval’s decision to resign, and that Hunter would assist Rivas-Sandoval in finding another opportunity elsewhere, he said.
At the end of each year, each head coach meets with Hunter, and that coach’s program is assessed and evaluated at multiple levels, Hunter said.
“Number one, we review their academic performance during the year,” Hunter said. “We take the team GPA’s and the team graduation rates over a four to five year period.”
The program’s involvement within the community is also evaluated, along with field performance including wins and losses.
FLC likes to see that the teams are competitive, more so than a team’s win-loss record, Hunter said.
All of these factors are collected and then discussed with the coach during each program evaluation.
The general reaction to Rivas-Sandoval’s resignation amongst the players was sad yet understanding, Hunter said.
“I was pretty shocked at first,” said, sophomore football player Daryion Morgan. “There was a good vibe at the meeting, and then he dropped it on us.”
Rivas-Sandoval was popular with his players, but they understand that his resignation will benefit his career as a future coach, Hunter said.
Wed. Jan. 16, it was announced that John L. Smith will replace Rivas-Sandoval’s position as head coach of the FLC Skyhawks, effective March 1.
Smith has 40 years of college coaching experience, 19 of which he was the head coach at multiple universities, and he has several championships under his belt.