The American River College football team recently hired two new coaches and promoted another to take over the various vacancies that were left open by the promotion of offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Jon Osterhout to interim head coach.
Osterhout was named interim head coach after it was announced that former head coach Jerry Haflich would be taking a medical leave of absence due to concussion symptoms.
Osterhout became the offensive coordinator last season, and has coached the offensive line for the past three seasons.
Lou Baiz will take over as the defensive coordinator this fall, a position that was held by Haflich since 2000. Baiz was previously the defensive coordinator at Folsom High School the past two seasons.
Baiz and Osterhout previously coached together while at Sacramento State for a total of nine years over two different stints. Osterhout and the coaching staff are excited for the qualities that Baiz will bring.
“(Baiz) is a brilliant football mind, very sharp, his ability to relate to the student athlete, his ability to motivate and drive the players,” Osterhout said. “He has a wealth of experience in coaching defense as a whole from front to back, from the d-line to the secondary.”
The players are excited about the changes as well according to Osterhout.
“The players are extremely ecstatic knowing that they are going to have a quality person first and foremost and then a brilliant football mind to move forward on the defensive side of the football,” Osterhout said.
Josh Crabtree will take over coaching the offensive line in his first return to football since stepping down as head coach of Sheldon High School in 2012.
“We actually tried to hire (Crabtree) last year, but he was looking at going into an administrative role in the Elk Grove district … and at the end of the day he realized that it was not the right fit for him,” Osterhout said. “He is a fun loving guy with tremendous character, and is really going to be able to help drive and maximize the potential of the student athletes, and o-line.”
Quarterbacks coach and former ARC football player Doug Grush has been “elevated” by Osterhout to take over as the offensive coordinator.
According to Greg Warzecka the dean of Kinesiology and Athletics the promotion of Osterhout is deserved.
“Jon has a tremendous amount of experience from Sacramento State University to the University of Nebraska, and the timing is just right,” Warzecka said. “He is ready to be a head coach even though for the time being it’s interim head coach, until the health issues are resolved with coach Haflich. Jon so far has done a great job and recruiting has gone extremely well, and we have very high hopes of putting together a team with an awful lot of talent for next fall.”
“Technically by Los Rios standards I’m the interim head coach…we’ll see how that plays out over the next 14 months or so, but right now my official title is the interim head football coach,” said Osterhout.
This is the first time that Osterhout will be a head coach of any football team, and he’s eager to prove he can handle it.
“I was ecstatic about the opportunity, I always envisioned myself being able to be a head football coach,” Osterhout said. “I envisioned initially coaching at the Division I level, but then I had the opportunity to come to the junior college area and I was able to see how you are able to truly make an impact on young men moving forward.”
Osterhout grew up in the area and attended Oakmont High School, where he made first team all-Conference, and second team all-Metro as an offensive lineman. He also got to take part in the Optimist game, an all-star game of sorts for outgoing seniors. Upon graduation in 1995 he attended Sacramento State University.
While playing football at Sac State, Osterhout redshirted after his sophomore season due to injuries, and finished his last two seasons playing left guard where he was a two time first team All-Big Sky, and first team All-American.
After college Osterhout signed a contract to play for the New York Giants but failed the physical, based on a post operation report for shoulder surgery.
He then signed with the Washington Redskins but blew out his shoulder, effectively ending his playing career.
“It basically ended my dreams and desires of continuing to play at the top level,” Osterhout said.
After realizing that he could no longer play, Osterhout came back to Sacramento State to begin his coaching career.
After five years at Sac State, Osterhout interviewed for a graduate assistant coaching position at the University of Nebraska where he was hired to work with the defensive line.
One of the players that Osterhout helped coach while at Nebraska was Ndamukong Suh, now a defensive lineman in the National Football League playing for the Detroit Lions.
“He is a special, special individual and not just from a football standpoint, (but also) as a human being,” Osterhout said. “(Suh is) somebody that I was fortunate to be associated with.”
It seems fair to say that Osterhout has the pedigree to be a head coach, and now he has been given an opportunity to prove it.