Max Bluemel and Garrett White will still roam the campus at Frontier, but their roles once the final daily bell rings won’t be the same.
Both coaches stepped down this spring, leaving gaping holes.
After seven years as the head coach at West from 1998-2005 and then a short two-year hiatus to work on his master’s degree, Bluemel helped open Frontier and was the only girls soccer coach on campus for the first 12 years.
White was an assistant under Jason Witcher when the program began in 2007, left three years later and then returned as the head coach for the past five seasons.
Both leave on their own accord, and for separate, but similar reasons.
“I’ve been a part of baseball for 30 years. My kids are 3 and 5; My 5-year old is starting his activities,” White said. “I have coached for 12 years and I knew the time was coming soon. And with this group that I had with the seniors and the work I have had with this core group, this was just the right time.”
White told his team about his decision in the clubhouse at Clovis High last month after the Titans lost in the Central Section Division I championship game.
“It was hard to talk to the players knowing everyone was in an emotional state," White said. "I wanted to talk to just the players. I knew the best time was right there when it was just us, our baseball family right afterwards in the Clovis team room.”
White, 35, who was the All-Area Baseball Player of the Year as a senior at Centennial in 2002, was on roster at UCLA before starting his head coaching career at South in 2012. White will continue to teach special education on campus.
Bluemel is 13-years older than White and has been a head coach for 19 of the past 21 seasons and said part of his reason to step away now had very little to do with the game of soccer itself.
Frontier won three section titles and six league championships under Bluemel.
“A lot of it was things beyond just being the coach,” Bluemel said. “It includes proper behavior, sideline conduct and the lack of uniformed conduct. It all needs to be established across the board. The athletic fields are an extension of the classroom, and I did not see that happening.”
In short, the behavior of parents and the lack of accountability began to wear on him.
Bluemel, like White, is ready to take on a larger role as a husband to his wife Sharol and their four children.
“She’s super happy it’s all over,” Bluemel said.
“It’s been my life for 30 years. People ask, ‘What are you going to do now?’ I don’t know,” White said. “I am going to miss everything about it. Hitting fungos, being out on the field, being in the uniform, all of that. I really cared about being a coach and a mentor to these guys.”
Frontier came into the section playoffs this year as the eighth-seed in D-I. White knew this was his final year, but had not told the players. So after each of the three wins to advance to the finals were exhilarating and nerve-wracking for him.
“I had known for a while, so its was a great thing they were able to play so well and continue to play so well through the playoffs,” White said. “Had we lost before that, no matter what, it was going to be the last game. It was hard going through the playoffs knowing each game could have been my last. Every game you are just trying to extend that career one more game. I really did try to cherish every last moment. I really wanted it for them in that last game. But that’s baseball.”
Added Bluemel: “I miss it already. I miss the connections I made with my players. I miss being a soccer coach. But sometimes I wish I could coach in an empty stadium. But I am giving it up for the right reasons, it’s for my wife and kids.”
Frontier athletic director Mike Gibson is currently accepting applications for both positions and can be reached at email@example.com.