They Made Their Mark in The Year That Was : JIM FENWICK : This Coach Passes Muster by Building Quarterbacks


Never underestimate the winning ways of Valley College football Coach Jim Fenwick.

Beating his football team was a difficult task in 1993 and it was nearly impossible this season.

Fenwick guided the Monarchs to a 10-1 record and their second consecutive bowl-game victory, all solid proof that his program is now among the state’s elite.

But some wondered how Fenwick, a former star running back at Pierce and Wichita State, would shape the young Monarchs into contenders.


There was, for instance, the quarterback issue.

In 1993, Fenwick found his man in former Agoura High standout Sean Fitzgerald, who had become disenchanted at Idaho State and transferred to Valley.

Fitzgerald set school single-season records with 3,134 yards passing and 27 touchdowns to lead the Monarchs (9-2), who capped the year with a 21-19 victory over Moorpark in the Western State K-Swiss Bowl.

Fitzgerald, who had only one year of eligibility with the Monarchs, received a scholarship to Pittsburgh and Fenwick had to find another quarterback.

He found one in Jim Arellanes, a transfer from Northern Arizona, and helped Arellanes hone his skills in Valley’s run-and-shoot offense to levels never achieved by other Monarch quarterback.

Arellanes surpassed Fitzgerald’s records with 3,909 yards passing and 30 touchdowns, and sparked Valley’s 36-28 victory over Rancho Santiago in the Orange County Bowl. Ironically, he established a state single-game record with 639 yards passing in the only game the Monarchs lost, a 51-37 setback to Bakersfield.

Now Arellanes--who recently signed with Fresno State--is also gone and Fenwick will try to mold another quarterback into his successful system next season, his fifth in charge of the Monarchs.


But that shouldn’t be tough for Fenwick, who has a knack for developing young quarterbacks.

When he coached Pierce from 1981 through 1985, Fenwick catapulted the Brahmas into national prominence with a 10-0 record in the 1984 regular season before Taft beat them in the Potato Bowl.

Fenwick also worked with Erik Kramer, now a backup quarterback with the Chicago Bears.

It’s that kind of reputation that attracted Fitzgerald and Arellanes to Valley--and that is what lures other talented players to the program. And it’s part of what makes Fenwick one of the top junior college coaches around.