Josh Kristoff and Chazz Anderson played football at the same high school in central Ohio. They competed against each other in college. They both migrated to California and took coaching positions at Santa Clarita Christian.
Their linked narrative recently took another turn, as SCCS confirmed this week that Kristoff, 26, will be its next athletic director and Anderson, 28, will take over as head football coach.
The moves come after Athletic Director Ali Aguilar and longtime coach Garrick Moss announced plans to work elsewhere next school year, leaving two holes at a school that happened to have two former NCAA Division 1 athletes who fit the school’s spiritual mission and have master’s degrees already on staff.
“I would say that is God’s providence,” said Wiley Kennedy, the campus pastor at SCCS, which is a ministry of Santa Clarita Baptist Church. “He, in his grace, had something to do with putting those pieces in place.”
Pieces that have worked together since Kristoff was in seventh grade.
Back then, Anderson, a sophomore quarterback at Pickerington Central High of Pickerington, Ohio, took Kristoff under his wing.
“Josh had a ton of potential,” Anderson said.
The two started working out together. Then eating and studying together.
“He’d come over and my grandmother would make dinner for us,” Kristoff said. “We basically became brothers.”
Anderson went on to play for the University of Cincinnati, while Kristoff headed off to play safety for Ohio University.
They remained close, and their paths crossed again on the football field in 2011. By then, Anderson had transferred as a graduate student to the University of Buffalo, which shared the Mid-American Conference with Ohio. The teams met on Oct. 8 in Buffalo.
Anderson’s team won 38-37. He threw for 343 yards and two touchdowns.
Kristoff made six total tackles.
“(I thought at one point), ‘Wow, I might pick off Chazz,’” Kristoff said. “The game was that slow and that surreal.”
After college, Anderson moved to California and began seminary. He became the offensive coordinator at SCCS in 2014, implementing a heady, spread-style offense and trying to recruit Kristoff.
“He calls me while I’m still in college and says, ‘I’m coaching at this small, Christian school. I love it, but I need you out here to be my defensive coordinator,” Kristoff said.
In the spring of 2016, Kristoff got a job teaching math at Academy of the Canyons.
He took over as the defensive coordinator for the Cardinals, who went 6-6 last season, advancing to the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 13 playoffs.
Kristoff has a bachelor’s degree in integrated mathematics and a master’s in coaching education, both from Ohio.
He is pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of the Cumberlands.
SCCS plans for him to teach on campus next school year.
Anderson, who earned a master of divinity from The Master’s Seminary and is pursuing further studies, teaches Bible at SCCS, which lost its AD and football/baseball coach in a relatively short period of time this spring.
Aguilar will be the assistant athletic director at Trinity Classical Academy next year, while Moss will be the assistant head of school at Legacy Christian Academy in Valencia.
“We’re excited about the future and thankful for both Garrick and Ali and the program they set up,” Kennedy said.