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Coach of the Week: Rich Gutierrez of Canyon High

November 26, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
After spending seven years honing his skills as an assistant coach for the junior varsity team, Rich Gutierrez is thriving in his first season as head coach at Canyon High School. He has led the Cowboys to the second round of the CIF playoffs.

"Fundamentally, we start with the weight room," Gutierrez said. "I think that's one of the things that the kids actually buy in and they perform to that level. We spend all the time in there and then you come out on field and we try to match that same enthusiasm and that same passion."

Canyon, a school in a community in Santa Clarita, is five years removed from beating perennial power De La Salle to win the state championship.

The man who guided that team, Harry Welch, had a long and distinguished career at Canyon and even has the stadium named after him.

Gutierrez worked under Welch his first couple years and now relishes the chance to walk in some very large footsteps.

"I think you could feel pressure, I don't necessarily, only because of the mere fact that this is exactly what I have wanted to do pretty much my whole life. Having the opportunity to come and do it is a dream come true," Gutierrez said.

"What he demands from us is winning and perfection. That's what we give him and good things come from those two," said Jonathan Jerozal, Canyon's quarterback.

Gutierrez not only coaches the football team, but also is the athletic director and teaches special education.

"I wouldn't have it any other way," he said. "I'm an obsessive person. I constantly love to work, I love working with kids? If you do right and follow your passion, your dream, you're going to find the path it leads you to."

That path has led Gutierrez to being the ABC7 NFL High School Coach of the Week.

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