Taking the helm as the eighth head coach in Orange Coast College’s football program history, Joel “Bubba” Gonzalez said everything is about his student players.
“I don’t want this to be about me or my coaching staff. Everything we do and every decision we make is done to benefit our student athletes,” Gonzalez said during a brief press conference held Friday.
Gonzalez thanked campus administrators for showing their support in him, especially newly appointed OCC President Angelica Suarez who takes office in July.
Campus administrators said Gonzalez will be a great addition to the campus.
“Beyond football, I know we are getting a leader, a mentor and someone who flat-out just cares about his student-athletes,” Athletic Director Jason Kehler said about the new football coach.
Despite his 1-9 record as interim head coach last season, Gonzalez gained the respect of athletes, coaches and administrators around campus and looks forward to turning over a new leaf on next season as the newest head coach.
“Our goal is to equip these young men with the skills needed to succeed in life and athletics,” Gonzalez said
Off the football field, last season Gonzalez made sure Coast football committed time and resources to community service projects to stay grounded and serve others.
Gonzalez is no stranger to community college athletics. He played at Orange Empire Conference rival Saddleback College and knows the grind athletes have to make day in and day out without the resources that a four-year university has.
After Saddleback, Gonzalez earned a full-ride scholarship to play at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Prior to last season, he spent two years as the Pirate defensive coordinator where he mentored and helped nine linemen earn NCAA and NAIA scholarships.
“He did a tremendous job instilling a new culture within the Pirate football program,” Kehler said.
Before starting with Coast football, Gonzalez spent six years coaching at his alma mater, Mater Dei in Santa Ana. He spent time as both the offensive and defensive coordinator.
As a coach, Gonzalez’s philosophy is not to yell at his players just to be a firm leader, it is to work with his athletes to make the program a success.
“My job is to motivate these young men. My job is to work with them, and hopefully get them in the right direction to meet whatever goals they have,” Gonzalez said. “Although I make the decisions, and sometime I tell them what to do, they’re not working for me, we are working together.”