PASADENA — A near two-month long coaching search that included at least one twist ended in the hiring of former Pasadena City College defensive coordinator Doug Bledsoe as the new head coach at Pasadena High.
Bledsoe was announced as the coach Thursday afternoon, with his position still subject to the approval of the Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education.
“This is destiny for me. I’ve been around this area and I’ve coached at Pasadena City College back in 2004, played at Glendale [Community] College and played with Pasadena football players back in the day,” said Bledsoe, 43, a Chatsworth resident. “I’ve always respected this area and this community.”
Bledsoe comes to Pasadena after a three-year stint at North Hollywood High, where he tallied an 11-19 record and reached the postseason once.
In his final year at North Hollywood, the Huskies finished 6-5 and advanced to the playoffs, which marked the school’s first winning season and postseason berth since 2007.
The similarity in challenges was not lost on Bledsoe, who inherited a 1-9 team at North Hollywood before the 2010 season and who takes over for one-win Pasadena.
“It’s the same thing. I’ve admired Pasadena from afar and we’ve had some similar opponents,” Bledsoe said. “Coming into Pasadena, we see some pieces to the puzzle and it’s just a matter of getting it done. It’s about getting things redirected and pointed in the right direction.”
Bledsoe is a product of Dorsey High, where he was a three-year varsity letterman on both the offensive and defensive line.
“The biggest thing about Doug is that he comes from a family of educators and as he said earlier, education is the key,” Pasadena athletic director Kevin Mills said. “The second part about Doug is that he understands rivalries, fierce rivalries [with Crenshaw High] and he’s astute to what it might take to get us over the hump.”
Currently, Pasadena archrival Muir owns the Turkey Tussle rivalry game and victory bell with a 40-17-2 overall mark versus the Bulldogs, while having claimed 14 straight games.
To that, Bledsoe responded, “Oh, we’re going to be ringing the bell. That’s the goal. It’s been away for too long.”
From Dorsey, Bledsoe spent the next two years at GCC, where he was a two-year starter, was named to the All-Western State Conference team and credited much of his success to former coaches Jim Sartoris and John Cicuto.
While Bledsoe initially signed a letter of intent to play at Texas Christian University, he concluded his football career at Cal State Northridge, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education. He’s currently working on a master’s degree in special education.
Bledsoe had several assistant coaching positions within junior college football, eventually making stops at PCC and Glendale, where he was last in 2009.
“He was very impressive interviewing. I was a member of the [hiring] committee and I thought he was articulate and had a high football IQ,” Pasadena boys’ basketball Coach Tim Tucker said. “I think he’s going to do a great job and bring the discipline needed back to Pasadena.”
Bledsoe takes over for Randy Horton, who resigned Nov. 2, a day after the Bulldogs capped a 1-9 season with a 37-7 loss to archrival Muir in the Rose Bowl.
Horton compiled an 11-21 record in three seasons and reached the postseason once.
“I look at this as a new beginning, while trying to tap into the old traditions of the school,” Pasadena Principal Gilbert Barraza Jr. said. “I’ve been here for three years now and ever since I’ve been here, I’ve heard people talk about the good old days of football.
“We know we have the talent in this area, even though it doesn’t stay here. What we’re trying to do is hire the right person, a magnet who will pull those kids back here.”
Bledsoe’s hiring comes after published reports on Jan. 8 that former Compton Centennial Coach Eric Scott was about to take the vacant position.