Rio Hires New Head Football Coach

Rio Hires New Head Football Coach

Elizabeth Griggs, Mirada Staff

After struggling through a season with only one win, Rio Americano hopes to turn its football program around with a new head coach.

Principal Cliff Kelly has announced that the school has hired Reid Sanders who helped Capital Christian go undefeated in the Capital Athletic League last season as offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. 

Sanders looks forward to his new role as head coach, noting that he tries to shape his players as people as well as athletes.

“I want to see you be the best parent, spouse, and member of society,” he said, “so I pour all my knowledge into everyone I come across.” 

Principal Cliff Kelley said that Sanders stood out from other applicants. 

“He is coming from Capital Christian, he has experience playing high school football, playing college football, and coaching as well at the collegiate and high school level,” Kelly said.

Sanders, who played quarterback in high school in Georgia and at Southern University in Louisiana, began his coaching career in 2012 at Southern University as a student assistant where he coached for three years. 

In 2016 he was hired by Georgia State University as running backs coach. He then transferred to Saint Augustine high school in New Orleans, but due to family reasons moved to Northern California and began at Capital Christian. 

While at Southern he obtained a B.S. in Business Management and an M.S. in Business Administration. 

In his free time Sanders said he likes to try new restaurants, spending time with his family, and traveling. His hobbies are music and shoes, but most of all, watching or talking about football. 

What set Sanders apart from other candidates was his view of players as not just athletes but as students as well who need to focus on education, Kelly said. 

“What really separated him was his focus on the student-athlete,” Kelly said. “He saw that student comes first and then athlete, also the fact he had a lot of coaching experience, and he really wanted to work in the Rio Americano community and build a football program.”  

Sanders will be getting some help building a successful program through the newly announced renovations to the weight room.

At the last PTSA meeting it was confirmed that the district will be putting money into the revamping of the weight room, and Sanders hopes to be involved in the improvements. “Hopefully everybody that plays a sport, all the freshmen and sophomores that are involved in Physical Education has a chance to go through the weight room and use it, which should be taken care of by this spring,” Kelly said.

Sanders replaces coach Sammie Stroughter, a Granite Bay graduate and former NFL cornerback who started at Rio in 2017. Stroughter stepped down midseason for personal reasons and also left his position as campus monitor. 

stepped down as coach midseason and left his position as campus monitor for personal reasons.  

Kelly expresses his excitement about the new addition to the staff.

“I am really excited to bring someone in that has the experience that he has and he seems to have a vision for what he wants the Rio Americano football program to look like,” Kelly said.