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New Rigby football coach focused on players becoming better men

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Armando Gonzalez

RIGBY — To Rigby High School’s new head football coach, the game is more than wins and losses.

Armando Gonzalez says he wants to build championship boys — not just a championship team. He is more interested in his players becoming model husbands and fathers than making them superstar athletes. And he believes it will translate to success on the field.

“I love coaching football, and we’re going to win a lot of games, but that’s a process,” the first-year coach says. “It’s going to take time. But more importantly than any of that is preparing them to become men, because that’s what they’re going to be for the rest of their lives.”

Gonzalez is excited about kids he will be coaching at Rigby and the coaching staff that he will have behind him. He believes a good group of coaches needs to surround their players. He wants coaches who are model men as well as model coaches. The more important thing, Gonzalez says, is to give the players the examples and tools they need to be great husbands and fathers someday.

“When I first talked to the team, I talked about being a man built for others, not just being a man where it’s all about them.”

“That’s what we’re here for, and I think we have the guys on our staff that can help me do that because that’s what I’m about,” Gonzalez says.

One of Gonzalez’s keys to success is building a brotherhood within the team. He says a football team spends way too much time together for them to not realize that they are like a family. He says although family members may not like each other all the time, they still love each other. If you love someone, you need to prove it by what you do for that person, he says.

“We confuse love with an emotion or a feeling, but love is, ‘I’m going to be there for you every day,’” he says. “It’s an action. It’s showing that I love you. I consider the 120 kids or however many are in our program, those are my sons, so I show love for them by being here every day. I’m breaking down film, I’m putting in the time, I’m prepared, I’m there for them when they need something, whatever it is — that’s how I show my love. I can talk about those things, but if I’m not there and actually doing it, that’s not love.”

Gonzalez, who holds a master’s degree in leadership studies, believes that for players to be successful, he needs to build a strong relationship with them. He needs to show he cares about his players so they know what he expects of them and are willing to play for him and give everything on the field.

“This game is about relationships and emotion and morale. You can have all the nice things in the world, but if the kids won’t play for you, it doesn’t matter. And that’s what I’m trying to build is the relationships with our kids and our community,” he says.

Gonzalez has implemented a mandatory summer workout program for all the players on the team this season. One of the players who have participated is senior outside linebacker Braden Erickson. Erickson says the energy that Gonzalez has brought to this team has already had an effect on the them. The energy he has brought has radiated throughout the entire team this summer, and the Trojans are embracing the change.

“We love him. Not one person doesn’t like him. We were all surprised and sad when Coach (Randy) Waite left, but we’ve all embraced these changes, and we are excited and blessed to have Coach Gonzalez,” says Erickson.

Gonzalez is excited to get going with this football program at Rigby High School and get to know the community. As a part of his core value of “riding for the brand,” he wants to find ways to give back to the community.

“It’s not just about us, I want to make sure we can find ways to help in our community, like the less fortunate, the homeless, and the disabled — any areas in our community that we can somehow give some time back,” Gonzalez says. “When I first talked to the team, I talked about being a man built for others, not just being a man where it’s all about them.”

The Gonzalez era will begin at Holt Arena in Pocatello on Aug. 26 as the Trojans take on the Douglas High School Tigers in the Rocky Mountain Rumble.