As Woodland High School’s varsity football team’s season ended in the playoffs, they still managed to win one of their games against rivals Crosstown Pioneer, going 10-1-1. and win a Golden Empire League title.
One of the main reasons for this, along with Christian Garcia’s offensive MVP and six all-league recipients including Bruce Bibriesca, Nestor Lomeli, Santos Ruiz, Roberto Sandoval, Xavier Lara and Danny Salgado, was the role of freshman coach -Chief Admin Araiza.
To fully cap off Wolves’ great season, Araiza was named GEL Coach of the Year in March. The GEL consists of teams from Sacramento, Dixon and Woodland. Coaches vote at the end of each season to decide on offensive and defensive MVPs, all-league recipients, honorable mentions, and Coach of the Year.
Araiza said he was humbled and honored to be recognized by his peers, many of whom he admires.
“As a coach you always admire the work of other coaches,” Araiza said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a rival. When a coach does a good job, you always admire him. So it was very humiliating for them to choose me. It’s a great honour. I think if you coach kids, mentor kids, and give kids a place to play sports, that makes you a great coach. You spend time away from your family to give students the opportunity to do something they love.
In addition to coaching football, Araiza is also a technology teacher, Advancement by Independent Determination or AVID teacher, head of the department of family and consumer sciences, and boys’ volleyball coach.
“They were all very good players,” Araiza said of his team. “They were all very humble players. They were all players who pushed and supported each other. So I’m very proud of the young players. There are leaders there. Developing that leadership mentality is also important as a ‘coach.
Araiza said his coaching philosophy is also about encouraging players to perform at their best.
“One of the things I always tell them is to give it your all,” he said. “You can’t show up and just try. Because at the end of the day, you always think about the games you didn’t do your best. So always try to do your best and leave everything in the field.
Woodland High School principal Peter Lambert praised Araiza for his service to students.
“Admin Araiza won the GEL Coach of the Year award for his service and leadership in supporting his student-athletes in competitive football,” Lambert said. “Coach Araiza dedicates hours of practice to support his students’ growth both academically and athletically and models the qualities of good sportsmanship.”
Araiza, who was born in Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico, put down roots in Woodland with his family when he was in sixth grade and developed a love for football from an early age.
“My father was a footballer,” Araiza said. “I would go to his soccer games and watch him play and that’s how I was drawn to the sport. It’s in my blood. It’s a passion that I have. It’s something I’ve been doing since I was probably five and will continue to do it until my body can’t do it anymore.