RATES ________________________ AURA       _______________________________ ST. NORBERT CHURCH      

Socialize

NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW – Cerritos football, baseball coaches resign within days of each other

Cerritos high school logo, don

Get more local news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for free HMG-CN local news and alerts.

March 2, 2023

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter                                                         

A pair of Cerritos High varsity coaches, both of whom were instrumental in building their respective programs into 605 League champions, resigned in early February for different reasons. Martin Rodriguez resigned from his post as the baseball head coach on Feb. 3 under pressure of alleged allegations from parents of kids on the team, while Brad Carter resigned on Feb. 7 from his post as the football head coach, as well as his AVID and physical education teaching position.

“There were a couple of issues that some of the parents were concerned about,” said Cerritos co-athletic director Robert Adams. “I can’t elaborate on those.”

He continued to say that he couldn’t comment on any complaints or concerns from players or parents about Carter during the season and added that at the end of every season, the school always does its postseason evaluations but had not completed any of them at the time. 

“I’m not going to go into the exact details, but I’ll definitely say I made a mistake,” said Carter. “But I don’t think it was handled properly by the admin and the district, and unfortunately, it led to me wanting to resign. I wish it didn’t come down to that, but my hands were kind of tied at that point.”

Carter went on to say that there were minor issues that came up during his three years at Cerritos, but the bigger issue involved paperwork concerning a weightlifting camp he was trying to put on in the winter. He couldn’t put on a weightlifting camp in the winter of 2020 because of the pandemic and it wasn’t until 2022 that a camp did happen. 

“I was trying to do the same camp again for the 2023 year,” said Carter. “We did one prior, a strength camp before the issue with the camp in 2023 came about.”

In three seasons with the Dons, Cerritos went 13-13 overall, undefeated in nine league contests and advanced to the playoffs twice (the other season was the Covid-shortened spring season of 2021). Both times, the Dons lost first-round games by two points and one point, respectively. Carter also became the first Cerritos football coach to have at least a .500 record three straight seasons since Kurt Bruich did it from 1999-2001 when he guided the program to a 22-10 record during that time with a pair of playoff appearances. Between the time Bruich left and Carter took over, eight coaches failed to reach the postseason. 

“He did a tremendous job organizing that group and keeping them together while at an on campus-off campus situation,” said Adams. “He did a great job with all that. The wins and losses will speak for themselves and the performance of the team increased. But the organization of the team and the participation level and things like that, we’re very appreciative of what he did with the team while he was the coach.

“We’re going to look for the best candidate, but we are flying the job,” Adams later said. “We are offering the job as football coach that could include the teaching positions that coach Carter was teaching.”

“I put my heart and soul into the program for three years,” said Carter. “I’m really proud of what the kids and the staff have accomplished. I told the school before I left we undid decades of losing in three years. We won league championships, won a district championship, made the playoffs and had very successful seasons. I’m proud of everything we did.

“I wanted to still be at Cerritos,” he later continued. “The fact is I fought really hard to make it a workable marriage, but unfortunately, one booster club member and one head of the CHS admin team felt differently. It’s sad; I wanted to continue my job at Cerritos, but unfortunately, that’s how the cookie crumbles. This is not something I wanted to do; this is not something I foresaw. I had every intention of being at Cerritos moving forward. But a couple of people saw it differently and they had the final say.”

In the case of Rodriguez’ resignation, he said he had a lot on his plate which included going back to school where he is wrapping up a master’s degree in education. He continued by saying he is going through his portfolio phase of that and didn’t feel he could give enough time to either that and being the head coach of the baseball program. 

“Right now, finishing my degree is obviously at the forefront,” said Rodriguez. “I made the athletic directors aware of that early in the winter and tried to ride it out as long as I could. It corresponded with the end of the semester at Cerritos High, then I decided to step down.”

Rodriguez added that he has accepted a coaching position as an assistant at Buena Park High working on his own time, being there when he can be based off his schedule with his pursuit of his master’s degree.

However, Adams cited a different reason for the resignation as complaints from parents began to surface during the first week of January. Before that, Adams said there were no indications of something wrong within the baseball program.

“Under the parent allegations, coach Rodriguez made the determination that it was in his personal best interest to resign from the [ABC Unified School] district,” said Adams. “Obviously, he has been a big part of our baseball community for quite a long time in the youth area and things like that. We’re extremely appreciative of all the work that he has done with our kids successfully; he helped build the baseball program up to where it’s at.”

Rodriguez, who was an assistant under former head coach Brooks Walling, took over the head coaching duties prior to the 2022 season and went 22-6 overall, won all eight 605 League games and lost in the first round of the playoffs. Cerritos has won all 26 league games and the program has advanced to the playoffs in five of the last six seasons, not including the 2020 season that was halted because of the pandemic. Before that, the last postseason trip for the program came in 1998.

“I’m doing a master’s with a credential and the requirements to complete the degree, in addition to schoolwork, I’m having to put a portfolio together for the state of California, which requires student teaching,” said Rodriguez. “It’s just a lot of hours and I found myself having to miss practice or leave practice early and miss some fall and winter ballgames because of it. 

“The direction that Cerritos was going in and what we were able to build up over the last few years, I didn’t want it to suffer with my schedule,” he continued. “I just felt like it was as good a time to leave.”

BASKETBALL REGIONALS

The La Mirada High boys and Gahr High girls won their first-round games this past Tuesday in the CIF Southern California Regionals. In Division 2 action, La Mirada (25-9), the fourth-seeded team, defeated Bakersfield Christian High 76-59 to advance to the second round, where a Mar. 2 game against fifth-seeded Oxnard High awaits the Matadores. Sophomore Julien Gomez led La Mirada with 21 points and 19 rebounds while senior Athan Sierra and junior Isaiah Valenzuela added 14 and 12 points respectively.

In Division 5 action, top-seeded Gahr (26-7) had no problems with Lindsay High 51-24 to set up a rematch with eighth-seeded Marina High on Mar. 2. Those two teams met on Feb. 18 in the CIF-Southern Section Division 5AA semifinals with Gahr winning 39-38 on a late three-pointer from sophomore Christine Ho.