Timeout with Tambo
Stephon Pace, Bulldog football’s new defensive coordinator
By Bill Tamburrino
There is a new sheriff in town and he has a tough job to do.
Stephon Pace is the new defensive coordinator of the Ramona Bulldog varsity football team. He is starting almost from scratch and so is the Bulldog defense.
Pace is taking over a defense that has only three players who saw significant action last season, and he is installing a new defensive scheme. Seven of the players penciled in as starters have no varsity experience. Five are sophomores.
Pace isn’t worried. “We will be fine as long as we play hard and compete on every single down. That is my coaching philosophy.”
Pace’s defensive philosophy is simple. “We are going to attack the offense from every conceivable angle. We are going to dictate what plays that they can run. We are going to try to take away what they want to do and what they do best.”
The Dawgs will be in the same 4-3 alignment that they have used in the past, but they will be doing different things out of the alignment.
Pace grew up in Duarte, Calif., and started playing football in Pop Warner in the seventh grade. “My parents (Melvin and Martha) were very supportive in all of my endeavors. I wanted for nothing. My mom drove me to all of my practices. They made sure that I went to a good high school.”
That high school was Bishop Amat High School, where he played football for Coach Mike Parades. He earned four varsity letters in basketball and earned All Angeles League honors on the court. He lettered three years in football and earned All Angeles League and All CIF honors playing defensive back and wide receiver for the Lancers. The Angeles League was considered the toughest football league in the country at the time.
For his exploits at Bishop Amat, Pace received a scholarship to play football at the University of Southern California. While at USC, he earned all Pac 10 honors his junior and senior seasons and was the captain of the Trojans his senior year. He played in two Rose Bowls and the John Hancock Freedom Bowl. He earned a degree in public administration.
Instead of going into public administration, he went right into coaching. He coached at Beverly Hills High School, then returned to coach at Bishop Amat High School. He moved to Riverside County and coached at Valley View High School.
When he and his wife Tracey and their twin sons Jayson and Jordan moved to Valley Center, Pace heard that there was an opening on the staff at Ramona High School. “Coach Baldwin is very well thought of in the coaching community. Coaches that I know said that working for him would be a great learning experience and would help me reach my goal.”
Pace’s ultimate coaching goal is to be a head coach on the high school level.
Baldwin has praise for Pace, too. “Stephon understands our objective of building character in our program and holding kids to a high standards. He is a great addition to our staff.”
“Working here reminds me of my family,” said Pace. “The players here want for nothing. They have the best equipment. They get lunches during two-a-days. The facility is first class. If they want something, they get it. I try to do the same for my sons that my parents did for me. And the players here are treated like family. It reminds me of home.
“I entered coaching because I love the game of football and I enjoy working with kids and this is a great place to coach.”
When asked who besides his parents had the most influence on his life Pace didn’t hesitate with his answer, “Coach Mike Parades.” He wants to have the same influence on other’s lives.
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