Canyon football’s Rich Gutierrez, who just finished his eighth campaign with the Cowboys, has resigned from his position as head football coach.
Gutierrez leaves the program with a 44-43-1 overall record.
“I just thought it was the right time for me and it was the right time for the program,” Gutierrez said. “And I love the program and I want to see the program continue to progress and sometimes I think a change is necessary. I thought this is what was best for Cowboy football.”
Cowboys assistant principal Robert Fisher was a little surprised when Gutierrez came into his office on Monday to break the news. Having been a head coach at Golden Valley himself, Fisher knew how hard the decision was for Gutierrez.
“Obviously the initial reaction is a little bit of a surprise because he has been a staple of our program for the last eight years,” Fisher said. “…but we understand where he’s coming from. I too have been there and it’s one of those things here you’ve got to look out for what’s best for you and your family and also the program.”
“Amazing. Supportive,” Gutierrez said about the meeting with Fisher. “I think you never know if it’s the right thing, but I do know in my heart it’s the right thing for me. And I love these kids and want to see them progress and so the right thing kind of fell into place.”
The Cowboys dealt with numerous injuries to key players this season, contributing to a 2-8 overall record and 0-5 league record.
Whoever was dressed played on both sides of the ball, as the Cowboys were down to only 24 players in their final game of this season.
Still, Gutierrez never made excuses.
“I think Rich does a great job of not allowing that to affect who he is and the program that he’s running,” Fisher said about dealing with the ups and downs of the season. “Rich has done a great job in continuing to put the boys in front of himself and making that the priority. Being there when they need him. Teaching the lessons they need to learn in order to be successful later on in life.”
Gutierrez’s most successful campaign came in 2013 when he went 8-3 overall and 4-1 in league.
In his second season with the Cowboys, Gutierrez helped lead Canyon to the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division III playoffs.
The Cowboys made the playoffs last season, reaching the second round in Division 6.
While Gutierrez might consider coaching in the future, he’ll always cherish his time as Canyon’s leader.
“I love my players. I get emotional thinking about it,” Gutierrez said. “There’s no one particular thing. It’s more the relationships. That’s been my greatest joy.”