Jimenez, son of Elodia Jimenez of Riverbank and the late Jose’ Jimenez of Patterson, said he still considers himself a Pattersonite at heart, and believes the teachings he’s acquired at his time here led him to receive the recently coveted award.
“Patterson is a wonderful community,” said Jimenez by phone on Thursday evening. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by great role models. My parents, high school and elementary teachers have always been positive about everything I’ve tried to do in my life. I have them to thank for my character.”
Jimenez thanked a number of teachers including Mike Worley, Lee Scoles and Fran Roberts—to name a few, although the list grew and grew the more he recounted.
After graduating at Patterson High, Jimenez went to Modesto Jr. College for two years before continuing his education at Fresno State with a major in Liberal Studies. His emphasis in bilingual education helped him secure many teaching jobs from Kindergarten to 12th-grade. Early in his career, Jimenez volunteered at Patterson Junior High and Patterson High School as a coach for several years.
He eventually moved to his wife’s hometown in Portersville, which reminds him of the agricultural feel of Patterson, he said.
Although pleased that he received the CIF Model Coach Award, Jimenez, now the boys and girls cross country and assistant wrestling coach at Porterville High School, said the circumstances surrounding the award leaves him with a heavy heart.
“I hesitate to bring this up, but the reason I won the award was because of a tragic circumstance,” he recounted.
During a regularly scheduled cross country meet earlier this year, Jimenez noticed that a girl from the opposing team had collapsed on the field half a mile away from the starting line.
He immediately went to her rescue and conducted CPR until paramedics arrived at the scene. Jimenez said the girl was transported to a Medical Center in Stanford, where it was determined that she had developed a heart condition. Had it not been for Jimenez, the girl’s life would have expired.
“I just happened to be the right guy at the right time,” said Jimenez, somberly recalling the situation. “I’d gladly, a million times over, would never want to receive this award if it meant that young lady would’ve been alright. I’d much rather her never have to experience that situation.”
Despite the outcome of the situation, family members have attested that Jimenez is a wonderful coach and good-hearted person who deeply deserves the award.
“I know I speak on behalf of our whole family when I say how proud we are of him,” said his sister, Betty Jimenez Cusumano.
The California Interscholastic Federation award is given to coaches who demonstrate and teach "the six core ethical values: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship."
Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24, or firstname.lastname@example.org.