Preps

Saturday, Apr 05 2014 10:11 PM

Garces names Antongiovanni its next football coach

BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer zewing@bakersfield.com

With its program at a crossroads, Garces reached back into its past for the next coach of the Rams football team.

The school announced Saturday that Tim Antongiovanni, a 1992 Garces graduate and former assistant coach at the school, would replace Jim Maples as Garces' head coach.

Antongiovanni most recently was an assistant coach at Liberty. He has also coached at Garces -- his last post was freshman head coach in 2009 -- Bakersfield College and the University of San Diego, but this is his first job as a varsity head coach. Garces also named Antongiovanni its Director of Facilities.

"Tim understands and embraces the importance and value of Catholic schools and Catholic education," Garces president John Fanucchi said in a prepared statement. "His passion, commitment, professionalism, and drive will serve our school, our student-athletes, our student body, our families, and the entire Garces Memorial High School community well now and for years to come."

Antongiovanni could not be reached late Saturday night.

Antongiovanni will inherit the nucleus of a team that went 10-3 last season and won the Southeast Yosemite League, including running back Sheldon Croney, who set the school record for rushing yards and touchdowns as a junior and was the BVarsity Offensive Player of the Year. Antongiovanni will lead the Rams into the tougher Southwest Yosemite League, in which Garces will be the only non-Division I team.

Whom he will report to next fall remains to be seen. Garces athletic director Lela Steiber and principal Kathleen Bears have both announced that they will step down from those positions at the end of the school year. No replacements have been named.

Maples was fired in January after a two-year tenure marked by extreme success on the field and controversy away from it.

In two seasons, Maples was 22-4, winning the Central Section Division II championship in 2012 and finishing as runner-up this past fall. He took what traditionally had been a wing-T offense and opened it up, resulting in historic passing numbers one year and historic rushing numbers the next.

But off the field things didn't go so smoothly.

In July, Maples was placed on administrative leave for eight days while facing recruiting allegations, and he joined with some of his assistant coaches in a lawsuit against the Kern High School District, the CIF Central Section and the Kern County Superintendent of Schools in December, alleging that those entities used and spread information from a conversation that was illegally recorded. That lawsuit is still pending.

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