Los Angeles Preps: Rialto Rule

Inland Empire: Colton's coaching position takes another turn

May, 4, 2011
Some of the juiciest high school football stories always seem to happen in the offseason.

Take, for instance, what’s going on at Colton High School.

First, a little background:

The Yellowjackets were searching for a head coach this time last year, and the most obvious candidate to take the reigns from Harold Strauss was right in front of them, Rick Bray, who had been an assistant at the school for 21 of the previous 25 years.

The only snag was, Bray was a security guard at the school and not a certified teacher. His hiring prospects put him behind the 8-ball in relation to the Rialto Rule, an education code stipulation that gives preference to certified teachers.

After six months of hand-wringing by the Colton Joint Unified School District, and with no better qualified candidates stepping forward, board members went ahead and approved Bray’s hiring in May of last year.

Bray then went out and made everyone look like geniuses, leading unseeded Colton to its first Southern Section football championship in 32 years.

But now Bray is back on the outside looking in, his job re-opened courtesy of the Rialto Rule, and this time there’s competition for the job, very well-known competition.

Don Markham, 71, is not only an on-campus teacher at Colton, but he owns 309 career victories and five section titles during stints at eight different high schools.

A gruff, iconic figure in the Inland Empire, Markham became well known for his creation of the tightly-bunched double-wing offense, which he used season after season to churn out thousands of yards and hundreds of points, despite not always have the best talent on the field.

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