Football players circulate petition hoping to bring back former coach

January 27, 2024 — by Victoria Lin
During the Homecoming game in 2021, coach Steven Matos encourages a player coming to the sideline.

 A change.org petition has been started by sophomore player Ian Johnson requesting that the dismissed coach, Steve Matos, to stay.

Steven Matos officially started his job as head football coach in the spring of 2021 after previous head coach Tim Lugo moved to Mountain View High School for a new job. However, after two years of coaching the team, Matos is out, the school is now searching for a new coach and some players aren’t happy about it. 

Recently, the district posted a job listing on EdJoin, a well-known educational job recruiting site for a new head football coach. Applications are due by Jan. 31, and the pay rate is listed as $4,306 to $5,962 for the season. 

Matos, who also works at the school as an aide in special education, sought to rebuild a program that has struggled to have enough players and overcome the inevitable injuries that go along with having a roster filled with two-way players. The team’s record this year was 4-6 and their previous year’s record was 3-7. In 2012, he joined the football program as an assistant coach under Lugo, someone he had been coached by as a player at Pioneer High School.

Some of his players, meanwhile, started a change.org petition on Jan. 23 in an attempt to get the school to reinstate Matos. In text accompanying the petition, sophomore varsity player Ian Johnson described his coaching ability and contributions to the team as “immeasurable.”

Johnson’s post continued: “His leadership has not only shaped us into better players but also instilled in us values such as integrity and teamwork. He inspires our football team to compete at the highest level. Reinstating Coach Matos would not only benefit the team but also uphold the spirit of sportsmanship that he has worked so hard to cultivate within us. We urge you to reconsider this decision and bring back a coach who truly cares about his students’ growth both on and off the field.”

The petition received more than 100 signatures within three days. Another sophomore varsity football player, Anthony Tran, also spoke up on the petition form. 

“I don’t see Saratoga football without Coach Matos,” wrote Tran. “Coach Matos was the embodiment of Saratoga, and it doesn’t make sense to take that away when our goal is to play for Saratoga. Coach Matos always said ‘One team one family’ and he has always been a father figure to all of us players. We aren’t a family without Coach Matos bringing all of us together.”

Athletic director Rick Ellis and several players contacted by The Falcon declined to comment on the situation. Matos also declined to comment.

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