This isn't the first time a football coach has arrived at Ventura College and, inside three seasons, has the Pirates playing for the Southern California title.
Terry Morris arrived in 1996 with a disciplined, military upbringing and defensive background culled from his playing days at Texas-El Paso.
VC went from 1-9 in 1997 to 9-2 in 1998. In his third season as head coach, in 1999, the Pirates won nine games again and faced Hancock in the Southern California championship game at Nordhoff High.
"I think of how hard Travis Rogers always ran for us," Morris said. "I think of (fullback) Russell Farrar out in front. I think of how we had such a great, local offensive line that probably was undersized in a few positions that played their hearts out.
"It's about character. We were a take-your-lunch-pail to work team."
Thirteen years later, under third-year head coach Steve Mooshagian, the first 10-0 team in school history hosts a Southern California semifinals Saturday night.
The similarities are obvious to Morris.
"They bought in," Morris said. "That's one of the biggest things that we've got going on this year. The youngsters have bought into the package and the coaches that we have here. That's where I see similarities. The same character is out there."
Morris is the second-winningest head coach in school history, going 50-42 in nine seasons before being removed as head coach after the 2005 season.
He had settled into his second act at VC as the chair of the physical education department when Mooshagian drafted him back into the team after his first season.
"I'm very thankful for coach Mooshagian to look me up and ask me to come back and be a part of this staff," Morris said. "A lot of coaches won't do that when there's ex-coaches on the campus, but coach is trying to put the best product on the field. ... I'm having the time of my life again."
Mooshagian gives high marks to his second-year secondary coach.
"I'm a coach's kid," Mooshagian said. "I understand what it's like to be a head coach and have to go back and be an assistant. ... It's not an easy thing to do. You have to respect that. He's gotten back into it and he's done a great job since he's been back. His role has increased."
Morris has coached a secondary that is third in SoCal with 19 interceptions. Cornerbacks Drek Reid and Jordan Howard are both in the top 6 in the region in pass breakups. Safeties Lakeith Murray, Scotty Wong, Matt Arve and Melvin Tavares have all made game-winning plays to extend the winning streak. Reserves like Jalen Oats and Brandon Lockwood make the secondary the team's deepest position.
"It's one of the strongest positions on our team," Mooshagian said. "Terry's been a great teacher for our secondary guys. He's been through it, so he has a calming effect on the defense ... not just on the secondary, but the defense as a whole."