After he graduated from Gonzaga University, Gonzalez decided to teach at Camarillo High.
“When I graduated (college), I didn’t know if I wanted to go into medicine,” Gonzalez said. “When I was in Springfield (Indiana), I volunteered at a hospital, but then I decided I wanted to be a teacher. I kind of found myself into teaching more than coaching.”
Gonzalez’s career took another turn last weekend when he was named the new skipper for the Camarillo baseball team.
“It’s something I didn’t think about too much while I was an assistant,” said Gonzalez, the Scorpions’ pitching and strength and conditioning coach for the past seven seasons. “Once (Richard Jaquez) retired as head coach, there was the vacancy and I thought about it.
“I thought I (had) something I could offer the program, so I decided to apply.”
June was a month of firsts for the 30-year-old Gonzalez.
Not only did Gonzalez accept his first head coaching job, but he and his wife welcomed their first child. Their son, Robert Louis, is named after his two grandfathers.
“It’s been a bit of a transition being a first-time head coach and father,” said Gonzalez, a former pitcher for the Scorpions.
“It’s tough because today I was in a meeting for baseball and my wife texted me that (the baby) just rolled over for the first time. I was pretty sad about missing that.
“I’ll try my best to be in both worlds. I’m going to try to be the best coach and best dad I could be. It’s going to be tough because your first-born baby is really special,” he said.
After graduating from Camarillo in 2000, Gonzalez played four years at Gonzaga and two seasons of independent baseball in the Frontier and Northern leagues.
While finishing his playing career, Gonzalez joined the Scorpion coaching staff and became a substitute teacher in Oxnard Union High School District.
Gonzalez said he’s prepared to guide Camarillo.
“Jaquez was a great mentor for me,” Gonzalez said. “He was a really strong baseball guy and tremendous manager on the field. I’ve learned a lot of lessons in game managing from him.”
The former Pacific View League star said he wants to pattern his coaching style after Jaquez and his summer college baseball coach, Santa Barbara Foresters manager Bill Pintard.
“(Pintard) was a real strong influence on me,” Gonzalez said. “He coaches a lot the way I would love to coach. He’s relaxed. He’s not a high stress guy, and players work hard for him.”
Senior-to-be pitcher Blake Redman said he expects Gonzalez to make changes.
“I think it will change because he has a lot to learn and so do we,” Redman said. “The pace of the game will change and pitch calls will, too.
“He’s a great guy and has helped me a lot during my high school career. I was excited when he received the job because I have a good relationship with him from pitching. Should be an interesting year.”
Connor Clark, an incoming senior first baseman/pitcher, said he’s pumped up to play baseball for Gonzalez.
“I was happy that it was Coach Gonzalez,” Clark said. “We all know him well and know what type of coach he is.
“There was uncertainty when Coach Jaquez left. Coach Gonzalez did a good job of keeping us on the right track, saying, ‘Hey, whoever it is, we’ll be fine.’ He kept us together.”
Gonzalez said he will keep the same assistant coaches and possibly bring in other coaches to the staff.
Heading into his first regular season next spring, Gonzalez expects his team to do well despite not having star power.
“I think there’s a lot of potential on this team,” he said.
“It’s an enthusiastic bunch that works hard. We’ve had big names in the past, we may not have the names this year, but this group is just as dangerous.”
For more Acorn sports coverage, follow Gilberto Manzano on Twitter @GmanzanoAcorn.
Get to know John Gonzalez
• College: Gonzaga
• Hometown: Camarillo
• Coaching experience:
ACHS assistant coach for
• Favorite MLB team:
• Favorite hobby: Golf
• Played two seasons of
Article reprinted with permission of the Camarillo Acorn