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Column: LAUSD can't afford to lose coaches like Alonso Arreola

Arreola stepped down as head football coach at Reseda High School in May, ending a 22-year run with the Regents.

Former Reseda High School head football coach Alonso Arreola checks all the boxes. 

He's a loyal players' coach whose mentorship extends far beyond the gridiron. He's also a winner who has the respect of his peers. Arreola has coached at Reseda for 22 years, the last 17 as head coach. He is Mr. Reseda.

Back in May, Arreola resigned from his coaching position at Reseda. The main reason Arreola cited for stepping down was to spend more time with his family. 

"They've sacrificed a ton to let me do what I do," he said. 

Arreola will continue to teach physical education and health at Reseda next school year, but despite wanting to coach again in the future at a new school, he won't be roaming the sidelines anywhere this fall.

"I'm definitely going to take the fall off," he said. "There's no question about that and then I'll just kinda see if any opportunities do arise and that's something that if they do I'd have to sit down with my wife and talk about that."

Losing Arreola at the helm of the football program is a big blow to Reseda. He's a Reseda grad who played tight end at the school in the early 1990s. As a coach, Arreola led Reseda to their only City title in football since the resignation of Joel Schaeffer in 2000. Arreola and the Regents took down El Camino Real in 2019 for the title. 

Arreola's resignation is also a big blow to the Los Angeles Unified School District. They've lost one of the best coaches in the district, and the lack of investment in facilities played a role.

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"There has to be more of an emphasis in athletics," Arreola said. "It’s a challenge across the City."

Even the bravest of thrill seekers would think twice before standing on top of the Reseda football press box. I learned that the hard way in 2017 while shooting video highlights of a 34-18 Reseda win over Canoga Park. The press box looks more like a shack and it wobbles in the wind. 

Five years later, it's still in the exact same condition. 

LAUSD approved a $171 million modernization plan for Reseda High School in 2020. You'd hope at least a few thousand dollars of that money would be allocated to football and athletic facility upgrades, but that has not been the case. According to a district summary of the project, no athletic facilities will be updated in the renovations, which are expected to be completed in 2026. 

Arreola is a Reseda lifer who saw the writing on the wall. If there's not going to be an investment made in his football program, why should he invest so much of his time in it? 

Arreola was one of the best coaches in the City who led his teams in spite of the low stipend and all of the other challenges LA City Section coaches face. But that's not why he resigned.

His family was a big factor in choosing to step down. But so was hope. 

Hope for district support, and hope for upgrades to facilities that have been largely untouched for 30 years. 

"It pretty much looks the same as when I played," Arreola said. "It's just rough, man."