The loss of head coach Jon Mack may be a big hit publicly for the Ventura College football team.
But at least three of its key freshmen said this week that the core of the coaching staff that predated Mack and will postdate his departure next month to Crespi Carmelite High will ensure the Pirates continue to compete for the Northern Conference.
"We're going to be a force to be reckoned with," said linebacker Brenden Daley. "The only hit we take is in the recruiting. He did help us out a lot there. But I feel like if everyone stays on board, coach Mack's departure will not be that big of a loss. Although it is a loss."
Daley said his linebacker coach, defensive coordinator Gary Anglin, was every bit as important as Mack to his success.
"Mack was a recruiting coach," said defensive lineman Tommy Stuart. "He got it done. He got everyone fired up. But I still think everything will be fine at VC if the other coaches stay."
Stuart singled out his defensive line coach, Ted Lawrence, for the "motivation and knowledge of most four-year college coaches."
"He just loves the county too much to leave," said Stuart.
"The coaches basically ran practice" continued Stuart. "Coach Mack was there screaming and yelling, getting people fired up, but the position coaches are all excellent coaches, some of the best coaches in the nation for (community college)."
Anglin, Lawrence, special teams coordinator Tom Lawrence and offensive coordinator Tim Gutierrez, who all predate Mack with a combined for 63 years of service at Ventura, are all expected to stay.
"Coach 'G' (isn't) going anywhere," said freshman quarterback Antavius Sims Wednesday, before he faced Oxnard College in men's basketball. "We'll be fine."
Gutierrez, who also coached with Mack at St. Bonaventure, said earlier this week that he still "had a lot to think about," before equating the situation this week to "breaking up with your girlfriend over the phone."
"We're all here and moving on and continuing our recruiting," said Anglin. "We're up for the challenge."
Mack, who held a press conference in Encino Saturday to be unveiled as Crespi coach, visited VC campus Tuesday to meet briefly with the team and file his resignation.
That enabled the VC administration to begin the process of opening the search for his successor.
"I hope that we'll be able to fill it quickly," said Calote. "It's an important time to have a full-time coach."