Not Without Controversy, AHS Acquires New Football Coach

Randy Backus, former Temple City High football coach, has joined Arcadia High’s athletic staff as the school’s new linebacker and running back coach.

Backus attended the University of La Verne and California State University Los Angeles, earning a degree in communication and credentials in English and Physical Education, respectively.

In addition to teaching English at Temple City High, he coached the school football team for 14 years. Under his guidance, the Temple City Rams advanced to the CIF division semifinals last autumn, scoring two successive victories against Arroyo and Azusa, though ultimately losing to the defending Olympic League champions, Lancaster’s Paraclete Spirits.

In 2007, Backus was promoted to head coach after his predecessor, Mike Mooney, accepted a job offer as assistant principal of San Marino High.

Last January, Backus came under scrutiny after an alleged altercation with a student outside the school locker room. Though the student did not press charges and filed no police report, Backus was placed on temporary administrative leave for two months and later fired from his coaching position. He was permitted to remain on the district staff as an English teacher on the condition that there were no further altercations.

Temple City High athletic director John Van de Veere claimed that Backus’s dismissal was completely unrelated to the alleged incident and simply reflected the district’s dissatisfaction with Backus’s leadership.

While rumors abounded over the next few months that Backus had accepted a coaching position with longtime rival Arcadia High, such conjectures were unconfirmed until very recently.

According to Arcadia High head coach Jon Dimalante, the district took a long time to make the final decision regarding Backus’s employment, a process complicated by the fact that the school had not yet hired an official athletic director and had been wrestling with the issue since April. Backus was spotted on the Arcadia High campus several times over the course of the year, fueling speculation that he would eventually join the staff.

Backus is currently involved in training Arcadia’s 09-10 football team over the summer. His new charges, the Arcadia Apaches, have largely welcomed his leadership and experience. Albert Tran, an offensive lineman on the Apache Varsity football team, described Backus as “a pretty strict coach…but also very fun.”

The Apaches have had a rocky track record these past few years. The team completed its last season with an overall record of 4-6-0 and was unable to advance to CIF playoffs after a 31-59 loss to Crescenta Valley in November, statistics that the athletic department hopes to improve next season with Backus’s expertise.

By Nuria Mathog

July 28, 2009

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