The soon-to-be-opened Castaic High School hired has its first full-time coach. Tony Uebelhardt was named the head football coach, as The Signal was informed via email on Thursday.
“It’s always been a dream to be a head coach and to be able to start at a brand new school and start from scratch is the full dream put in place,” Uebelhardt said.
Prior to getting the job of head coach at Castaic, Uebelhardt oversaw the wide receivers and defensive backs for the Hart football team for the last six years. Additionally, he has been the head coach of the Hart lacrosse team for the last five years.
Castaic athletic director Jibri Hodge previously coached football for Canyon High School and had the opportunity to coach against Uebelhardt. But it was Uebelhardt’s interview that won over Hodge and co-athletic director Mark Overdevest.
“He answered every question the way you’re supposed to answer a question,” Hodge said. “I didn’t have any reservations about him coming on and being a head football coach. He has a good knowledge of the game and can take this program into the future.”
Castaic High School, which is will open this fall, will have a football team consisting of only freshman in its inaugural year. Uebelhardt sees advantages to this, including players having consistent coaches from freshman year to senior year.
“The good thing with us is these incoming freshmen are going to have the same coaches for four years,” Uebelhardt said. “That gives us a head start as we get the varsity rolling in the next couple of years. They’ll all be with us, it’s our terminology, with everything we’re going over is what they’re going to know for four years.”
Uebelhardt grew up in Saugus and Canyon Country before moving to Acton just before starting eighth grade and played football all his life. He was head coach at LA Lutheran in 2009 and had various assistant coach positions before settling in at Hart.
He said that working under Hart head football coach Mike Herrington has taught him endless lessons about the sport.
“To be out there every single day watching him and see him as he coaches and leads the team, he’s always done it the right way and has the utmost respect from everybody,” Uebelhardt said. “To have that on the daily basis and to learn and grow from that, it’s a priceless opportunity to coach here.”
Although he says football is always on his mind, Uebelhardt plans to finish this season as the head lacrosse coach at Hart and get the team to its first playoff appearance before fully focusing on his upcoming duties with the Coyotes.
However, his vision is pretty clear for the football program.
“The vision for the school, I think everybody is on board as far as from the top as (principal) Melanie Hagman to Jibri to Mark, we all have the same outlook on it,” Uebelhardt said. “Build it from the bottom and let’s get this started as one of the programs that is going to be well known in this valley.”
Hodge and Overdevest are continuing the hiring process for coaches for the remainder of the fall sports, which include cross country, girls golf and boys volleyball. They’ll be doing it with a student-first mentality.
“There’s going to be life after sports,” Hodge said. “You need to be able to handle that in adverse situations, but that’s kind of what we want to build at Castaic. The students coming through and getting a leg up on education and athletically as well.”