Gustine High will have a new hand at the helm of its boys basketball program next year.
Jason Oliveira, who has coached the varsity Reds for the past six years, recently resigned that post.
Oliveira said he stepped down to provide an opportunity for other coaches, particularly those who are already district employees, to take the program forward.
He was a walk-on coach. Priority is typically given to coaching candidates who are district employees.
By resigning, Oliveira said, the opportunity is created for prospective coaches to pursue the job without feeling like they are displacing an established coach.
“There are qualified coaches lined up to take the position, and I think I’m holding up the line,” he stated. “I just felt that it was in the best interest of everybody if I stepped away and gave these younger guys the opportunity to run the program. I am thankful that I was allowed to coach from 2013-14 on without any pressure from the qualified coaches within the district who could have forced me out.”
Oliveira credited the support and dedication of long-time coaches Charlie Kothenbeutel, his assistant for the past five years, and Michael Barnett, who coached at the frosh-soph level for five years, with helping develop the program.
“I think the program turned the corner last season, and he had a good focus and off-season program with full buy-in from the players,” Oliveira commented. “From where the program was when we took it over to where it is now is night and day, from the discipline to the basketball knowledge.”
Oliveira said he believes the program has developed a competitive edge, and the Reds achieved a milestone this season by qualifying for the post-season for the first time since 2000.
“The highlights of these six years have been qualifying for the playoffs and seeing players grow, watching their development not just from the standpoint of basketball but of growing into young men,” he reflected.
Ballenger said he hopes a new coach is named by the end of the month to oversee spring drills and the summer program while the program is in transition.
Oliveira’s resignation was not the only one within the athletic department.
Kingsley Borba announced that he will not be continuing as Gustine High athletic director next year.
Their resignations were accepted by the school board at its April 10 meeting.