It’s a good thing Trevor Pruitt likes challenges, because his new job as head coach of the Los Altos High football team comes with plenty of them.
He takes over a squad that last season went 0-10 and had to forfeit a game due to a lack of players.
But Pruitt – offensive coordinator for rival Mountain View the last two seasons – knows what he’s getting into and welcomes the opportunity to turn the Eagles around.
“I’m excited for the challenge – I’m ready for it,” he said. “I’d rather take on a tough challenge than an easy one.”
Los Altos athletic director Kim Cave, who announced Pruitt’s hiring last week, is confident the 25-year-old is the right man for the job.
“We are thrilled to have Trevor on board as our new head coach,” she said. “His vision and style is just what we need right now.”
Pruitt is the team’s third coach in as many years. Rudy Alcala was not asked back after last season and Bill Waggoner resigned at the end of a 1-9 campaign in 2011.
The Eagles’ last winning season came under Waggoner, who guided them to an 8-1-1 record that included a playoff appearance in 2010.
Pruitt vowed to bring back those winning ways and eventually lead Los Altos from the lower El Camino Division of the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League to the upper De Anza Division.
“No matter what, we’ll be competitive,” said the 2005 graduate of Mountain View High. “Patience has never been my strong suit, but I understand where we were last year and where I want us want to be – competing in the De Anza – and I know it won’t be an overnight thing.”
Pruitt has already started assembling a staff to help him accomplish that. Shonte Jiz de Ortega, Mountain View’s defensive coordinator last year, will assume the same role for the Eagles. Both men played football for the Spartans.
“Shonte has the passion and knowledge on defense that can make us successful for years to come,” said Pruitt, who plans to direct the offense. “He’s the fiery defensive coordinator and I’m the calm, cool and collected mad-scientist offensive coordinator.”
Donnie Ecker, Los Altos’ new baseball coach and former standout quarterback, has also agreed to join Pruitt’s staff.
“Donnie’s going to work with the quarterbacks and help with the passing game,” Pruitt said.
Dan Navarro, whom Pruitt played for at Mountain View, gave the young coach his first job in football at age 19. Pruitt served as the frosh-soph squad’s offensive coordinator and special teams coach for three years, assuming the same duties on varsity in 2011 when Toure Carter replaced the retiring Navarro.
Pruitt cited Navarro and Willie Howard – a Los Altos High grad who starred at Stanford University and now coaches high school football in Minnesota – as his mentors. Their work ethic has apparently rubbed off on Pruitt.
“I feel like what separates me from others coaches is preparation,” the Mountain View resident said. “That’s how you separate yourself from the pack.”
Pruitt, who described himself as “a confident coach,” expects to have a long career at Los Altos.
“I coached YMCA basketball at 15 and knew then that I wanted to coach for the rest of my life,” he said. “I’m ready for this job and can’t wait to get started. I’m young and hungry and plan to be here for years to come.”