Having spent 27 years as an assistant coach, Jason Gray is now in the driver’s seat. He replaced Shawn Racobs, who coached the Tigers for one season after the legendary Mike Marrujo retired in 2015.
“Being the head coach at Valencia is an honor and I see it as an opportunity to help the program continue to succeed,” said Gray, who has been teaching on campus for 18 years. “Valencia is a special place and these kids work hard every day to represent themselves, Valencia, and their community well.”
Marrujo, who coached the Tigers for 35 years, is returning in an assisting role. “Having Coach Marrujo coaching again is great for the kids and the program,” Gray said. “We are all fortunate to have him.
The Tigers finished 4-7 overall in 2016 and shared the Empire League championship with Tustin. The team’s returning starters are providing some needed experience for the team, Gray said. That experience will be put to the test when Valencia and El Dorado meet in the annual Battle of the Bell on Friday, Sept. 15. El Dorado took the prize last year for the first time since 2011.
“We hope to play in a significant game with a big game atmosphere as the season progresses, so I look at the El Dorado game as a valuable experience for the kids,” Gray said. “Winning the game is great, I see it as something that the players and the community really enjoy.”
The community will be watching to see which team gets to ring the coveted Victory Bell.