St. James landed on a new head football coach last week. Josh Rodriguez takes over the position after spending his last three seasons as the head coach at Class 1 North Platte.
Rodriguez has 13 years of coaching experience under his belt, having spent 10 seasons as an assistant coach at Lebanon. Rodriguez worked as the special teams coordinator, linebackers coach and several different aspects of the offense at Lebanon. While at Lebanon, Rodriguez worked with Rolla's head football coach Jon Franks, who told him to look into the job in St. James.
"I talked to coach Franks and he gave me a call telling me it was open," said Rodriguez. He had a little bit more knowledge of the situation over here and he told me it'd be a great fit and I took his word for it. So far, there's everything to like and I'm excited to take the opportunity."
The new head coach said that there are a few things that make St. James a great fit. The football program is successful and the community in St. James seems like one he wants his family to join.
"I just want to continue the success of the program that they're building on. I know it's a great little town and that's what I'm looking forward to the most," said Rodriguez. "If you things right, the other things tend to work out."
Rodriguez takes over for Greg Harlan, who stepped down to become the Activities Director at St. James. Harlan said they talked to several coaches that worked with and against Rodriguez and knew they had the right choice in their hands.
"He's someone with good experience and everything we heard from people that we called and talked to about him," said Harlan. "They all said he's an outstanding coach and probably more importantly, he's an outstanding person and he really cares about the players. For us, we really wanna make sure we have people around our kids who are really good people that can hopefully steer them in the right direction, not only on the football field, but in life as well."
Rodriguez won't be able to fully take over until after the school year is over, so Harlan will still be making sure the weight room is open for kids and things of that nature. Once the school year wraps up, Rodriguez will take the reins.
As for the other St. James coaches, the current plan is for that staff to stay as is, with four of the assistants slated to return.