Jones was a head coach for 13 seasons, starting with a championship run at Oak Ridge, his alma mater.

Hometown Report: Jones resigns as Vista del Lago football coach

Published: Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2013 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2013 - 11:47 am

Chris Jones is another coaching casualty.

He has gone from hooked to just about cooked. There are too many hours, too many tasks - and not enough time to juggle everything.

Jones resigned as Vista del Lago High School's football coach Friday. The most difficult thing, Jones said Monday, was conceding he could no longer give as much of himself as he required of his athletes. Being a teacher, father and husband and supervising a high-profile football program year round became too big of a burden.

"I am a little burned out, and I want to see my kids compete," said Jones, 39. "My daughter Cassidy is 12, and she swims year round. My son Brent is 9, and he plays baseball. I looked at my schedule, and it hammered it home."

Jones was a head coach for 13 seasons, starting with a championship run at Oak Ridge, his alma mater. He then started the Vista program six years ago, leading a swift ascent, including last season's 12-2 team.

Jones, who doesn't know if - or when - he'll coach again, certainly isn't alone.

Joe Cattolico resigned as Pleasant Grove's football coach last fall, fearing burnout and dreading the little time he had with his sons and parents. But Cattolico, 38, changed his mind days later after finding a way to blend family with football.

Cattolico's father, Butch, will be on the sideline with him this fall after retiring. He coached for 41 years at Los Gatos High.

Longtime coach Max Miller, 72, admits he has had bouts of burnout, too. Miller often could be seen slumped against the wall - in victory or defeat. After his first season at Cordova in 1981, Miller was driving home from practice when his young son Chris noticed something in the distance. It was a likeness of Miller, hung in effigy. He was 40; his team was 9-1.

"(Jones) might not come back because he got out young enough," said Miller, who has coached football for nearly 50 years, including last season in his second stint at Rio Americano. "When I was 39, the fire was really burning. I took my kids with me on the team bus to see them. I felt like I was just getting started."

Miller still pushes himself as much as he did in the 1980s, but he has promised his wife, Sally, that she won't have to call 911.

"I still coach hard," Miller said. " ... It's the love of the game, working with kids, wanting them to have a great experience. I can't stop."

Miller has brought another old salt, Ed Lombardi of 1980s and '90s Elk Grove fame, out of retirement to assist him this season.

They chat with other old timers, such as Grant's Mike Alberghini, who is preparing for his 45th season in the Grant district and 22nd as the Pacers' head football coach.

Alberghini said he's still hooked on coaching, too. So it's only fitting Miller, Alberghini and Lombardi will give seminars Saturday at Folsom High School in the annual Character Combine event, passing along their wisdom about program building, motivation and remaining fresh enough to match the energy of their players.

At this point in his life, Jones is hooked on his two children.

"Coaching is all that I really know, so I am a little uneasy," Jones said. "I've been married (to Melissa) for 15 years, and we'll actually take a family vacation this summer for the first time."

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD and listen to his "Extra Point" every Wednesday on ESPN Radio 1320

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