Golden Valley softball players start petition to reinstate fired coaches 

News from The Signal.

Coaches Mike Rego and Bob Shults were shocked when they found out they were being let go, weeks after one of their best seasons at Golden Valley softball. 

The coaches said the school’s administration told them that numbers were down in the program and that the school expects to have three softball teams. Saugus and West Ranch are the only high school programs that field three or more teams in the valley. 

Rego had a varsity and junior varsity team, and contends that he was on pace for growth in the program. The coach said the firing was a surprise and felt the program was finally entering stability after several big wins in his fourth year. 

“We had one of the best seasons that Golden Valley’s ever had and it was just kind of a blindside. We knew nothing,” Rego said in a phone interview. “There was no indication, there was no coming to the office to talk, there wasn’t any preparation. It was just, ‘Golden Valley’s going in a different direction.’” 

The Grizzly players have since formed a petition to reinstate their coaches in hopes to keep building the program back up, with the men who helped give it momentum. 

The petition was started on by team parent Arlene Ortiz and has reached over 60 signatures since launching May 29. 

“(Shults and Rego) are the reason various of these girls, having no prior experience playing have gotten to the level they are at,” the petition reads. “Coach Mike and Bob would stay after school, after practice and give up their summers unpaid to work with anyone who wanted extra reps and wanted to get better.” 

“The abrupt termination of their coaching positions not only undermines the hard work and dedication these athletes have invested in the program but also sends a discouraging message to the players and the community,” the petition adds. “It is evident that their dismissal was not based on performance or merit but rather on subjective factors beyond their control.” 

The coaches aren’t optimistic that the administration will budge but are proud that their players are fighting for coaches who believed in them. 

“They have to understand that there’s a slim chance that this will work,” Rego said. “And if it doesn’t work, then they have to chalk it up as, ‘Hey, we tried but it didn’t go our way.’ That’s when the big decisions are to be made. The petition is great. It shows that they’re fighting and I’m proud of them for standing up. But in reality when everything’s said and done, and all the smoke clears, in my opinion, they need to stand by their friends, their teammates and back to the decision that the school is making.” 

The program was on track for another season of solid numbers as Rego says over 20 incoming freshmen signed up for summer camp. 

“In my personal opinion, and I could be 100% wrong, but I just don’t think it was the right move for the girls at Golden Valley,” Rego said. “The girls went into the principal’s office the day that it happened and pleaded their case but I think it kind of fell on deaf ears. The decision was already made.” 

Golden Valley Athletic Director Carmelo Flores said the administration would have no comment on the firing or the petition. School Principal Sal Frias has not responded to requests for comment over the past week. 

The team was set to have its biggest senior class in years in 2025. Now players are unsure of their future in the program but Rego is encouraging his former players not to transfer out of the school. 

Rego says he has donated a great deal of time with the Grizzlies as he helped rebuild the program and the team’s facilities.  

“We’re not doing this for the money because when you add up all the hours that we spend and then divide it up, it’s like 50 cents an hour,” Rego said. “It’s not about the money and it’s not about winning, either, although we want to win. It’s about giving the girls at Golden Valley the same opportunity that all the other girls in the league have. And when I got up to that school four years ago, it was disgraceful. There were rats and rat nests in the batting cages. There were spiders and snakes inside the equipment shed. We didn’t even have a snack bar. The grass was all overgrown. There were dead animals in it. It was appalling.” 

The search is already on for a new head of program as the non-teaching position is open for applications on the William S. Hart Union High School District careers page. The head coaching job at West Ranch also opened up this offseason, but Rego says if he can’t be at Golden Valley, he’ll likely retire from coaching. 

“It’s disappointing but moving forward, I think my coaching days are done,” Rego said. ”I’ve been doing it for 30 years and it’s getting harder and harder as the years go by. It’s just a different generation of kids. When my daughter played, we had 50 kids come out to tryouts every year.” 

If there’s an outside chance the school will reverse its decision, Rego and Shults said they would have no hard feelings and take their basically volunteer positions back in a heartbeat. 

“We made a commitment to these girls and whatever happens, 100% I’d sit down, we can try and bury our grievances and use our energy moving forward,” Rego said. “We can discuss how we can build the program and make the program better. So, if they ever entertain that, it wouldn’t be a question. I would do it in a heartbeat.”

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