The Peterson Principle: 12/18/2018

By Tim Peterson

What does Greg Gano have in common with Ryan Bateman, Nicholas Christos and Bob Burt? It’s a head scratcher isn’t it?

Answer: They have all been the head coach at Wilson High School in the last ten years. I could have thrown Brian Zavala’s name into the mix as well but I didn’t want to give it away. It’s been a revolving door at Wilson over the last decade. When a new head coach is announced to replace Sal Ortiz who resigned last week after just one season, it will be the Wildcats seventh head coach during that ten-year span.

Does consistency bring success? Well, take a look at the numbers. Wilson’s record during that time is 19-70. In 2016 under Bateman, Wilson went 0-9. Two other times during the 10 year run the Wildcats went 1-9 (2011 and 2013). Not even Gano, who had a ton of success at Los Altos and most recently at Don Lugo, could get things going. Gano spent just one year at Wilson, (2015) and went 2-8 before deciding to look for greener pastures.

Zavala took the most heat of any Wilson head coach during his time at the helm. Anytime his name was mentioned on our site it completely blew up. He was the most vilified coach in the area and was eventually run out of town. He must have been horrible right? Couldn’t win a game? Well, not exactly. In his second and final year in 2010 the Wildcats went 4-6. In fact the only other HC to win four games during that 10 year period was Christos who went 4-6 in 2012. If you read our site during that time you would have thought Zavala went 0-20 and killed Santa Claus.

What’s the problem at Wilson? Hard to say. Some say there is no support from the administration while others have stated that the fault lies at the feet of overbearing parents. Whatever it is Wilson will never figure it out unless a coach is supported and allowed to run the program without interference. Let the guy do what he was hired to do – coach.


So what happened to Ortiz? He is now the new DC at Los Altos. That’s the second major hire for Travis Brown as he continues to rebuild the Conqueror coaching staff. Daniel Fierro was named the new offensive coordinator earlier this month.


Sierra Canyon fell to Liberty 19-17 last Saturday night in the CIF State 1-A Championship game. Ho hum, okay. Sorry these State playoffs just don’t do it for me. Once the CIF Finals are over that pretty much marks the end of the season for me. Apparently I’m not the only one that feels that way based on the attendance at some of these state games. Oh I did see South Hills lose to Lawndale in a first round State playoff game. It was cool I guess. I did get to see a dynamic running back (USC Commit) in Lawndale’s Jordan Wilmore, but there was no buzz at Covina District Field. It almost felt like an exhibition game at times. The loss should do nothing to diminish South Hills’ season. To me the Huskies still went undefeated in 2018. Oh and can the beginning of the season be moved back to the end of August please?


Who takes over for Kyle Trudell at Cal? Good question. It’s not a bad gig for the right guy. The Condors haven’t had a lot of success over the past few years but they always seem like a program on the cusp. Numbers are usually pretty good and they have great facilities. I’m hearing former assistant Louie Zamora is the frontrunner but at this time there’s no confirmation.

“I can tell you that we will be looking internally to start,” said California AD Jim Arnold. “If we don’t hire from within then we will look outside. We have a couple of good candidates on campus.”


Interesting schedule change for Montebello in 2019 as the Oilers will play San Dimas instead of Inglewood in Week 1. Nice local matchup on the Saints home field.


Besides the multitude of miscues that we can discuss that led to the Rams loss last week to Philadelphia, did anybody else wonder why Sean McVay used all of his timeouts before the last possession?


While watching UCLA lose to Belmont last Saturday, I kept thinking that UCLA basketball fans know how USC football fans feel. They are wondering why their head coach still has a job.


I’m being dragged kicking and screaming into basketball season. Yeah, the Lakers are better, LeBron is great, so is Duke…blah, blah, blah. I’ll catch up with them in February. Isn’t the Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl on or something? One thing I can tell you about high school hoops. Pasadena is pretty good.

That’s my principle.

Tim can be reached at or on Twitter @tspeterson40.

18 Comments to "The Peterson Principle: 12/18/2018"

  1. Mr Power's Gravatar Mr Power
    December 29, 2018 - 4:07 pm | Permalink

    There is one coach out there that can definitely win, and win big at Wilson. Don’t now where he is now.

  2. NWO's Gravatar NWO
    December 26, 2018 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Would the Route 66 league be Div. 14?

  3. Sgv outsider's Gravatar Sgv outsider
    December 22, 2018 - 11:46 am | Permalink

    After speaking to a few area coaches. They all say that Wilson is a death trap. If at coach is smart, they wouldn’t touch that. This is coming from coaches who have coach d in the district. Apparently they’re program is the worst in the area. Which is pretty sad because they are in an area that includes southland christian, Baldwin park, Sierra vista, and bassett

  4. sports man's Gravatar sports man
    December 21, 2018 - 11:37 pm | Permalink

    Wilson has not the athletes to become average as the teams in their league! ?? I suggest that the Wilson football team must learn to win; how I don’t know with the present talent. But victories are the only solution to attract some better players to attend Wilson High School and play the great game. Only a coach that can ‘turn a far below average program into an average program” is necessary for this to happen. Not many out there that can do that; very good head coaches are hard to find, I think (not know) most r already in good programs; and poor programs tend to hire from applicants with lesser experience. It would be great to see a very successful winning coach ‘take a challenge’ and coach at Wilson. Then maybe they become average;; then maybe above average. Not easy to convince kids ‘they can win if do what winners do’!

  5. ?'s Gravatar ?
    December 21, 2018 - 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Wilson-Rowland-Keppel- Temple City-Nogales. Route 66 League

  6. Annonymous's Gravatar Annonymous
    December 20, 2018 - 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Congrats to Cathedral Phantom Defensive Lineman Stephon Wright Signing with Arizona State University.

  7. Anonymous's Gravatar Anonymous
    December 20, 2018 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

    @tim hector shouldn’t leave Workman but there’s no denying that he change any struggling football program just look at what he did at Bassett and now what he started at Workman

  8. HOT ROD's Gravatar HOT ROD
    December 20, 2018 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    Pasadena’s remodeled gym is a sight to see. At times there has been deep fried catfish and fries, street tacos and now pupusas sold outside. No dirty water hotdogs like other schools. LOL

  9. Meh's Gravatar Meh
    December 20, 2018 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    Honestly there is no turning this program around unless they leave the league. I think if they move to the miramonte league they should be fine. They won’t waste a preseason game on LP and use that slot to play south land Christian or someone in that category

  10. SH's Gravatar SH
    December 20, 2018 - 12:22 am | Permalink

    Coaching football is hard work, turning a losing program into a winner is a labor of love. You got to do extra work everyday. I applaud the football coaches and the football coaches that turn programs around are extraordinary people, not many coaches can turn programs around for the better. Case in point a very good coach (Gano) could not turn a bad program around. Coaches do not want to put in the work, they just want to recruit good players. Is that really coaching.

  11. Anonymous's Gravatar Anonymous
    December 19, 2018 - 7:45 pm | Permalink

    If there’s one coach who can fix wilson it’s coach Hector at workman
    From T. Peterson: Just talked to him last night. He’s not leaving Workman. He’s happy there.

  12. Anonymous's Gravatar Anonymous
    December 19, 2018 - 5:48 pm | Permalink


    Well, they did beat Gladstone this past season so it’s definitely an improvement from previous years. The issue with Wilson isn’t the coach, but the administration that doesn’t care about the football program. If they did, they would have petitioned to move leagues a long time ago in order to play at a competitive level. Until they start putting attention to the football program, then they will continue to have losing seasons and athletes being injured.
    In terms of Los Altos, it’s difficult to say that the head coach is the problem. The team underperformed but they were very young. Some will say they were talented but teams that are senior heavy tend to do much better. Just ask Ziola, all his successful teams were senior driven. Did you know that during Tyler Nevens junior year Ziola’s team failed to make playoffs? Yes, a team with the all-time great Tyler Nevens did not make the playoffs. So let’s wait until next season is over to truly have an idea about Travis Brown as a coach. Having both Ortiz and Fierro on staff will definitely make this team better next season.

  13. Cold hard truths's Gravatar Cold hard truths
    December 19, 2018 - 4:41 pm | Permalink

    @Wilsonparent. Sadly, any coach that walks into that job is already gonna be guaranteed a losing season. Before you bash me let’s look at league schedule. Northview, San Dimas, Covina, Rowland, and Baldwin park. Baldwin park is an iffy but their talent pool is greater than Wilson’s for sure. But the rest of those schools are beating up on a division 13 school and I’m pretty sure it was northview that paralyzed Wilson’s qb this season. Now I don’t know how many open games Wilson has but if it’s the same schedule then we have Los Altos and pioneer. LP is looking good but let’s say you play Bassett. Even Bassett would beat Wilson at this point. So why does Wilson suck year in and year out? They are way out of their league literally. And their preseason schedule isn’t helping here. The talent pool at Wilson isn’t great considering most kids in that district would rather go to (in this order): Los Altos, LP, Workman, and then maybe Wilson. You can blame the coaches all you want but those are the facts

  14. SGV's Gravatar SGV
    December 19, 2018 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I know I’ve seen better photos of you Peterson. This one makes you look like you have a peanut allergy.
    From T. Peterson: Huh?

  15. Too much football?'s Gravatar Too much football?
    December 19, 2018 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    If they are going to start the season so early, they should at least also move up the state finals. No need to inflict yet another week of practice on those kids.

    I’m sympathetic to the idea of not having a state championship. It is kind of silly having 13 of them, though in a state our size I don’t see any other option besides lengthening the season further (bad idea) or going back to the old system where it was basically an invitational that took reputation, past seasons, and politics into account.

    Maybe the answer is just to keep only the top division – have a game between the De La Salle and whoever wins the Southern Section D1.

  16. Where the Sun Don't Shine's Gravatar Where the Sun Don't Shine
    December 18, 2018 - 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Arnold says he’s “looking internally.” So THAT’S the problem: he needs to pull his head out of there and see more daylight.

  17. ?'s Gravatar ?
    December 18, 2018 - 8:24 pm | Permalink

    No point in going to a high school basketball game. Lousy refreshments.Bleachers hard to climb. Foul language echoes in the gym.

  18. Wilsonparent's Gravatar Wilsonparent
    December 18, 2018 - 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Sal Ortiz coached at Wilson for two years and he didn’t do well. He lost to Gladstone and did not instill a winning attitude into our boys. I think he is overrated as a coach and Los Altos is trying to justify why they had a bad season with all that talent because they had no coaching so they are bringing in an OC and DC. This looks like a way to cover up the bigger problem, the head coach. Hey if USC and do it.

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