After guiding the Tigers to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs in both of his seasons at the helm of the varsity team, including the first postseason boys basketball game played at Patterson High since 2008, Arreola is leaving to focus his attention on his new role as assistant principal of Creekside Middle School.
“Resigning my duties as head coach was a move I had to make,” Arreola said. “My family responsibilities and added work duties do not allow me to put in the time required to take the program to the next level.”
Arreola, who has eight years of teaching experience, including six as a social science teacher at Patterson High, takes the place of Kerry McWilliams, who became Creekside principal Jan. 1.
Patterson Joint Unified School District trustees approved Arreola’s promotion during their Jan. 14 meeting. Arreola began his new position later that week.
He says he will miss coaching as he leaves with a 41-15 overall record.
“Coaching was another form of teaching — the basketball court was our classroom,” Arreola said. “I love teaching, and coaching allowed me to do more of what I love.”
Under Arreola, the Patterson boys basketball program returned to section prominence.
“We were able to create a culture within our program that encouraged selflessness, promoted hard work and fostered responsibility,” Arreola said. “I attribute much of the progress we made to the quality of our student athletes. The players were willing to sacrifice individual statistics for the betterment of the team.”
Arreola led the Patterson High freshman boys basketball team to a 20-6 overall record and a Western Athletic Conference title in 2010-11.
He took over as varsity coach the following season and led the Tigers to the playoffs in two straight seasons.
“Fortunately, we have had a group of fine young men who conducted themselves with character and represented our city in a positive light,” Arreola said.
After a three-year absence, the Tigers punched their ticket to the D-III playoffs in February 2012 with a 63-61 come-from-behind victory over Central Catholic High of Modesto in the final game of the WAC season.
Patterson stormed back from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit, spoiling the Raiders’ Senior Night.
“The postgame celebration was a great moment for our program,” Arreola said.
Arreola also had a personal stake in the contest. In 2009, he was the freshman coach at the Modesto-based school when those same Central Catholic seniors ran through a 26-0 freshman season.
Arreola said the high point of his tenure was seeing the effort his players showed in their next-to-last game of the 2012-13 campaign.
Four players scored in double figures and Patterson locked down defensively in the second half, beating Vanden High of Fairfield 69-61 in the first round of the Division III playoffs on Feb. 20 at home.
“My proudest moment as a coach was seeing our players battle back from a halftime deficit and overcoming the absence of team captain Skylar Job to win our program’s first playoff game in several years,” Arreola said.
The Tigers fell short of a section title, losing 53-47 to Casa Roble High in the second round of the D-III playoffs in Orangevale, and finished with a 22-7 season record.
“We accomplished most of our goals,” Arreola said. “We turned the program around.”
With several returning athletes and increased depth expected on next season’s Patterson squad, Arreola thinks the Tigers can be at the top level of the WAC for several years.
“Patterson has a lot of talent at all levels,” he said. “If the players work hard, play selfless basketball and focus on academics, this group will do special things.”
A native of Hollister and a 1998 graduate of San Benito High School, Arreola is the eighth child of immigrants from Mexico and worked in the fields as a youth.
He is married to Mayra Arreola, a Turlock High School counselor, and is the father of Olivia, 3, and Max, 1.
Patterson High Principal Dave Stubbs will sit down with the school’s athletic director Dave Klein to begin the search for a new head coach, Arreola said.
“I am confident that they will find the right person to take the program to the next level,” Arreola said.
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or email@example.com.