Eagle's Cry

Life Lessons from Frank Mendoza

Head Coach Tim Davis, Frank Mendoza and Josh Stoltze talk about infiltrating the defense weak points and where the running back will be lined up during state.

Head Coach Tim Davis, Frank Mendoza and Josh Stoltze talk about infiltrating the defense weak points and where the running back will be lined up during state.

Ayuel Dak, Reporter

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What is a mentor? A mentor is usually defined as a trusted adult adviser that kids go to in time of need. For many kids from ghetto neighborhoods, Francisco Mendoza is someone they call a mentor.

Francisco Mendoza is known by most people know him as Coach Mendoza or the father of Koko Ortiz and Bubba Mendoza. As a kid growing up in the mean streets of Salinas, California in a gang-oriented household, Mendoza was destined to be a gangster. “I never wanted to be a gangster, I was just really good at it; I could lead others and in a gang that’s a very powerful trait,” said Mendoza.

Mendoza was simply viewed as an insignificant individual, but Bobby Cobarruvias, a resource counselor and a junior varsity football coach at Mendoza’s school, thought otherwise. Coborruvias overlooked Mendoza’s thuggish ways and treated him like a man; he showed Mendoza that he had value beyond gang life. Mendoza was a hard individual to deal with as a kid in high school but that didn’t stop Coborruvias from trying. As time goes by they would build a relationship that went beyond the football field. Coborruvias help Mendoza see that his value was minimal without him willing to use the person he was to become the person he is. He taught Mendoza about accountability, dependability, responsibility and to lead by example not simply by fear.

Mendoza has taken what he learned from Coborruvias, and is passing it on to his young lads. Being a father and a football coach, the roles are different for Mendoza.  Sometimes he’s a guy that gives advice, a listener, other times he’s just there as someone that’s there to talk and laugh with. Mendoza is had the biggest impact on lads such as Joel Martinez, Niko Fa’amasino and his son Koko.

Martinez has picked up a few things by being around Mendoza, “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have been able to play football. I learned a lot of life lessons from being around him, he taught me to be patient and analyze things before reacting and these things that are going to help me in the future,” says Martinez.

Fa’amasino hasn’t been around long, but Mendoza has had quite an impact on his life and he’s also picked up a few things from how he does things. Mendoza worked with Fa’amasino during the football season; their relationship started off as a caterpillar and became a butterfly as the season went on. “When I first met him, I was like ‘ah man I feel like I wouldn’t like this guy’, but as we got to know each other more we became close, it’s a great bond,” said Fa’amasino.

Frank Mendoza grabs his boys Koko and Bubba for a quick picture of Koko’s last football practice as an Eagle before the stated game in The Nest.

Now with Koko it’s no difference, Mendoza expects him to work hard and lead by example on and off the field. Koko is like his father when they play football, so when Koko makes a mistake he has a coach’s stand point so he can recognize his mistake on the field.

There is no doubt the relationships between Mendoza and all the lads is not about football but preparing young adults that will become leaders in the near future.

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