Patrick Gutierrez and Isaiah Anaya know the sweet, soothing words of a hustler.
The two Capital High School football players have heard them before from previous coaches who walked into that first meeting with players and parents during their prep careers.
The new hire talks about commitment, about demanding excellence. They even bandy pie-in-the-sky dreams of contending for state championships -- as soon as the first year.
But there was a reason Bill Moon was in the school library Tuesday, talking to players and parents about his vision for the program, one he previously shared 24 years ago at the school that gave him his first head coaching job in 1988.
Moon is the fourth head coach Gutierrez, a senior, has had. Anaya is on No. 3.
The previous coaches -- Josh Wallace and Charles Moss -- are now former Jaguars. With them went shattered hopes that they held the right answers to turn around a program that was a district champion just five years ago and went to the playoffs four straight seasons.
Perhaps a better description for the players who still remain in the program is abandoned.
"It feels like you're unwanted," Gutierrez said. "It's hard. You've already learned one playbook, and now you're onto another one because you have a new coach."
But the long road back to respectability began again with Moon's talk with about 40 players, parents and administrators in the room. Yet, Moon didn't boast about what the future will hold for the Jaguars.
In fact, the only promises he made were that this is his last coaching stint and that he expects to graduate all of his players. Oh, and hard work and preparation.
As for the talk of competing for district titles and state championships? Moon said only this:
"Is it possible for us to win the state championship next year? It's possible. Anything's possible. Now, is it likely that we win a state title next year? Eh," he said with a shrug.
They were honest words, and ones that Anaya could appreciate.
"Coach Moon isn't promising us anything yet," Anaya said. "He's saying we're going to work hard for everything that we can get."
Moon made his point clear to the players and parents. He said he had retired as an attorney and plans to give all of his time and effort to the program.
Moon also made the analogy of his retirement to Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortez, who burned all of his ships upon reaching Mexico in the 16th Century.
The point is that he is here to stay, for as long as he is welcomed to stay.
Perhaps that says more than any proclamations of district and state championships. Moon wants to be at Capital, and that's all the players want to hear.
Besides, they know a hustler when they hear one.
Contact James Barron at 986-3045 or email@example.com.
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