Chris Valcarcel selected as new football head coach

The Saint Stephen’s football program welcomes a familiar face, former coach and current social studies teacher Chris Valcarcel.
Chris Valcarcel selected as new football head coach

Saint Stephen’s named sixth-grade World Cultures teacher and former SSES football coach, Chris Valcarcel, as the new head coach of the football team. Valcarcel’s predecessor Coach A.J. Brown, who will remain a P.E. teacher and Track head coach, brought the program success with an SSAC state title in 2022 and a runner-up finish in 2023.

As the new head coach, Valcarcel plans to continue the team’s SSAC Championship streak, despite the challenges the Falcons will face next year.

Although many students know him as a teacher, Valcarcel has plenty of experience coaching football. Valcarcel served as a linebackers coach for Manatee High School long ago, before he was hired onto former SSES coach Tod Creneti’s staff as a defensive coordinator. Under Valcarcel and Creneti, Saint Stephen’s won their first SSAC championship in 2016, in large part due to Valcarcel’s dominant defense.

I love to build relationships with my players and to put them in the right position to succeed

— Chris Valcarcel

Coach Valcarcel talked about why he originally took a break from coaching despite the defense that he developed at Saint Stephen’s.

“I stepped down because I wanted to spend more time with my family,” Valcarcel said. “I’ve been coaching other people’s children for 20 years of my life and [my children] were interested in sports and I was able to be around them as much as possible.”

After teaching for 10 years at Saint Stephen’s, Valcarcel felt like it was time to return to the football program, and next year he’s set to do so as head coach.

“I have a great understanding of Saint Stephen’s and our values,” Valcarcel said. “The defensive side of the ball is my strong suit, but I also love to build relationships with my players and to put them in the right position to succeed.”

Football player and rising senior Austin Varga commented that Valcarcel’s knowledge of the school will make him a strong head coach.

“I think coach Valcarcel will be a great leader for our team,” said Austin. “I enjoy his coaching style and his new schemes and plays are exciting.”

Valcarcel said he wants the best for his players, and he thinks his tactical approach to coaching will positively affect how the athletes play.

“I almost view it as a chess match with the other team,” Valcarcel said. “My goal is to get my guys in the right place so that they could get the best opportunity to use the skills that they learned and use their abilities to dominate the opposition.”

Valcarcel mentioned that although he may be a defensive-centered coach, he plans to make positive changes on both sides of the ball.

“I’ve always thought defense wins championships,” Coach Valcarcel commented. “If you look at [the team’s] past successes, the defense has dug us out of some holes there, but we’ve also had some massive offensive power to back that up. We are going to continue with some of the main plays but we are also going to implement some air raid stuff and really take some shots downfield and have a lot of fun.”

Valcarcel’s football team also has a new coaching staff, featuring new additions such as Myron Hagina, featuring alums Tyler Burnham and Alexander Sket.

Valcarcel commented on why he hired these men to lead Saint Stephen’s football team to glory.

“My goal with my coaching staff,” Coach Valcarcel said, “is to have a group of really good men that understand the values of Saint Stephens and that are just going to push the program forward.”

This change in management marks a new era of Saint Stephen’s football, and head coach Chris Valcarcel is anticipating a successful season with his new additions to the program.

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