What a bizarre year it has been at Colton.
On Friday night, the football program took its wildest turn yet when head coach Rick Bray resigned at halftime of his team’s opening game against visiting San Diego Torrey Pines, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
Bray, who led the Yellowjackets to the SS-Central Division title last season in his first year at the helm, was apparently unhappy that his son, B.J. Bray, an assistant coach, was asked to leave the sideline during the second quarter against Torrey Pines.
According to the San Bernardino Sun, the younger Bray was being disciplined for his actions at a district board meeting in May, when his father’s contract was renewed. The position had briefly been opened to other applicants, generating strong emotion from Bray's supporters and a few who thought otherwise. According to the Sun, the younger Bray yelled at the parents of a former player who had criticized Rick Bray during the open meeting.
Another son, Rick Bray Jr., who coached the second half of the 35-7 loss to Torrey Pines, is also likely leaving the staff, the elder Bray told the Press-Enterprise. There's no word on who will run the program, but a likely candidate would be the school's athletic director, Harold Strauss, who has amassed 229 career victories at Colton and two other stops.
Colton’s run to its first section title in 32 years was one of the uplifting stories of last season. After serving as an assistant coach at Colton for 21 of the previous 25 years, Bray was handed the reigns when Strauss stepped aside after the 2009 season to concentrate on his duties as athletic director.
It didn’t come easy, as Bray had to wait six months for the district board to approve his hiring.
Despite leading the Yellowjackets to the Central Division crown, Bray’s position was re-opened in the offseason as the district sought to appease the Rialto Rule, which gives hiring preference for coaching positions to on-campus teachers. Don Markham, a legendary coach in the Southland and a teacher at Colton, reportedly accepted the position, then turned it down 24 hours later when he was guaranteed a teaching position at Compton High, where he had been hired as head coach two months earlier.
Bray, a security guard at Colton, was then retained as head coach.
Until this weekend, at least.