Bellarmine-Jefferson High wasted little time replacing its football coach. In fact, less than a month after former coach Rolando Aguirre stepped down, a new coach has taken his place.
David Machuca, 27, a 2002 Burbank High graduate who most recently served as an assistant at Chaminade, has been picked to help revive the Guards' program.
Bell-Jeff Principal John Matheus said it was imperative that the school find a replacement for Aguirre in as little time as possible.
"It was important for us to fill the position quickly," Matheus said. "We had a search committee here at Bell-Jeff and we had about 25 applications. From those we narrowed it down to about six interviews, and this young man came out on top."
Matheus added that Bell-Jeff was dedicated to bringing in an individual to turn around a program that has had its share of struggles the past few years.
"We're really happy to have him," Matheus said. "We are ready to continue to what I call 'restore the glory' here and we want to move ahead in football and build a successful program."
Machuca is familiar with the football culture in the city. Along with playing for the Burbank Vikings Youth Tackle Football program, he also competed for the Bulldogs.
Machuca, who will also be a teacher at the school, said taking the Bell-Jeff was a prospect he couldn't pass up.
"I'm just excited about the opportunity that I've been given at Bell-Jeff," said Machuca, who served in the U.S. Coast Guard for four years after graduating from Burbank. "I am bringing over a few coaches from Chaminade and we're young, we're hungry and we are ready to help turn around this program.
"Burbank and Burroughs have done great jobs with their programs the past few years and I think the city of Burbank is just bursting at the seams with football talent."
Machuca said his three-year tenure at Chaminade under Coach Ed Croson was invaluable. The past two seasons, the Eagles have been able to advance to the CIF Southern Section Western Division semifinals.
This past season, Chaminade went 10-3, placed second in the Mission League behind Gardena Serra and advanced to the division final four, losing for the second straight year to Arroyo Grande, 45-36.
The Eagles went 11-2 in 2010.
"Coach Croson has been a great mentor to me," said Machuca, who was an assistant for three years. "When we got to Chaminade they were in rebuilding mode and we were able to turn the program around."
Bell-Jeff has struggled the past two seasons, finishing last in the Santa Fe League both years. The Guards went 2-8 this past season and were 5-15 the past two years.
Under Aguirre, who finished with a 69-68 record in 13 years as head coach, Bell-Jeff proved it could be a successful program. In just his second season as coach in 2000, the Guards won a share of the Santa Fe League championship. It was the program's first title in 46 years.
Bell-Jeff also captured undisputed championships in 2004 and 2007, as the teams finished with 9-2 records both seasons.
Machuca, who is in the process of assembling his coaching staff and who said he will meet with Bell-Jeff players Wednesday, said he sees no reason why the Guards can't return to being a winning program.
"The objective is pretty simple with my staff and we've been talking about it the last couple of days," Machuca said. "We want to get the student involvement and we want to bring the alumni back out to the football games and be proud of what's going on with the program."