He resigned as football coach late last month, but Trevor Pruitt’s frustration with the Los Altos High administration began three years ago.
After losing to Homestead in front of a sparse crowd on an early October day that felt more like July, Pruitt vowed that would be the last year the Eagles played at home on a Saturday afternoon.
Except it wasn’t. Los Altos played three more Saturday afternoon games in 2017 and another two last season.
“That was the start of everything,” Pruitt said, recalling the 2016 game in which he voiced concerns about his team playing in the heat and without shade on the sideline. “I was not having my opinions taken into consideration.”
Pruitt noted that the administration rebuffed several of his suggestions for improving the Los Altos football program, which he said has “30 percent of what the other programs around here have.” Pruitt said he asked to play more night games and for the school to add a weightlifting and conditioning class for his players, pointing out that district rival Mountain View has managed to do both.
“I don’t like lying to athletes and parents; I can’t say they have the best of everything when it’s not true,” said Pruitt, who went 30-31 in his six seasons as coach and guided the team to the playoffs in 2016.
Pruitt said he also asked to extend practices from 1 1/2 hours to the three allowed by state rules but couldn’t get the administration on board with that or with his “open-door policy for alumni.” Pruitt wanted to invite former players to be on the sideline during games and practices, but he said the administration told him they could only watch from the stands.
“I got some pushback on that, which was quite a shock,” he said. “It was very disheartening. The writing was on the wall.”
It was becoming clear to Pruitt that this was not the job he signed up for in 2013.
“Some things were promised to me, and they never came to fruition,” he said. “When you work tirelessly and put all your heart and effort into something and not get the same in return, it’s hard to show that passion and love.”
By the end of the fall season, after a 4-6 record and fourth-place finish in the SCVAL El Camino Division, Pruitt knew it was time to move on.
“There were too many differences when it came to what I was trying to build and what the school wanted to do,” he said. “When you’re not aligned, it’s best to get out of the situation.”
Although disappointed by what he perceives as a lack of support from the administration, Pruitt said he holds no ill will toward the school and that the relationships he built with the players “will last forever.”
“I’m happy for the opportunity and I wish it would have worked out,” said Pruitt, who is exploring other coaching opportunities for next season. “I hope this is a wake-up call for Los Altos and that they finally put the same energy into building a football program as they do other sports.”
Asked to comment on Pruitt’s departure, Los Altos athletic director Michelle Noeth said, “I wish him the best.” She added that the search for his replacement would begin soon.