By Zach Cavanagh
San Juan Hills High School and the Orange County football community were stunned when Stallions football coach Aaron Flowers resigned on Jan. 16.
San Juan Hills has only had one other varsity football coach since 2008, and Flowers took over the program in 2011. He had done a tremendous job in his seven seasons to mold a young program from a winless 2011 season to a league championship in 2013 and to a perennial playoff team. Flowers called the mid-January decision a “life opportunity” and cited an out-of-state move.
The Stallions then moved quickly and found their man in Rob Frith with a Feb. 4 signing and Feb. 5 press release.
“Today’s been pretty awesome,” Frith said on Feb. 5. “I’ve received an in-pouring of very supportive phone calls and text messages. It’s been pretty flattering.”
The decision to apply was a no-brainer for Frith, a San Clemente resident and San Clemente High School graduate, who has coached defensive backs at San Clemente the last two seasons after being the head coach at El Toro from 2009-2014.
“I think it’s an excellent job down here in Orange County,” Frith said. “This is a very desirable job for many. I live five to 10 minutes from the school. To get back into the football head coaching role and to have a more active role in leadership while building character in young men, it was the right place and the right time to get back into the head coaching realm.”
Frith had to step down from the El Toro position after becoming the school’s athletic director due to a district policy. He then left the athletic director position after just one year in the role.
“I was still spending a lot of time away from my family,” Frith said. “I also had the thought of getting into school administration. That was my idea at that point.”
Just before the 2016 season, San Clemente coach Jaime Ortiz offered Frith a position on the Tritons’ staff. It was in his two-year run at San Clemente, which included the 2016 state title, where Frith rediscovered his fire.
“What I realized was I really enjoy being a football coach,” Frith said. “Football is a means to build strong relationships with players and coaches and building character in young men. It was something I really had a great time doing. It sparked my interest in being a head coach, and I knew that I would be a head coach again.”
The right position had to come along as Frith stressed the importance of time with his family, and San Juan Hills provided that landing spot.
Frith has plenty of transition work to get started on. He planned to meet with the Stallions players this week as well as sit down with Flowers’ coaching staff to see what needs to be done going forward.
“The first thing I need to do is a lot of assessment,” Frith said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Flowers and his work. I want to talk with guys and see where they’re at with their wishes and desires.”
Frith said he wants to show the players and parents that there will be stability and they will continue to work hard. What they can also look to is Frith’s track record.
Frith’s El Toro teams were known for their offense and county record-breaking passing attack. El Toro went 40-18 in Frith’s tenure including a trip to the 2011 CIF-SS Southwest Division championship game.
Frith is the man to continue the now-familiar success at San Juan Hills.