Capital taps assistant to be new coach

Jun. 19—Twenty years is a long wait between head football coach gigs for Joaquin Garcia, but the timing felt right.

Garcia, who spent the pasts two seasons as an assistant coach at Capital, was hired to replace Bill Moon on Thursday. Moon left the program in May after nine seasons, a 36-50-1 record and three district titles.

This is Garcia’s first time guiding a program since he spent two seasons at West Las Vegas before resigning prior to the 2002 season. He guided the Dons to a 9-12 record before spending the next 19 years as an assistant coach at Clovis, St. Michael’s, Santa Fe High and Capital.

Garcia said a lot has changed in the football landscape, but he feels ready for the task because he has stayed connected to the sport as an assistant.

“The game has evolved tremendously,” Garcia said. “A lot of the spread offenses to the multiple offenses, they are all complex. I feel like we need to build upon the tradition here at Capital, but at the same time we have to kick it up a notch and do some different things, as well.”

Garcia coached linebackers and running backs for the Jaguars, but also spent time as the defensive coordinator at St. Michael’s in the early 2010s. He was a part of teams that reached the Class 3A title game in 2011 and 2012, with the Horsemen winning the championship in 2012.

One issue Garcia said is of great importance for the program is an increase in its roster. He said more than 60 players participated in workouts during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, but about a third of those players did not come out for the shortened spring season for a variety of reasons.

Bringing those players back into the fold is crucial, and Garcia said the administration is eager to help him with that task.

He added that the recent news that the state will lift COVID-19 health-related restrictions by July 1 will be helpful in reenergizing interested players. He has talked with head coaches St. Michael’s Joey Fernandez, Santa Fe High’s Andrew Martinez and West Las Vegas’ Adrian Gonzales about holding 7-on-7 passing camps in July to get ready for the fall.

“It’s just a matter of them being excited and coming back to a non-COVID season,” Garcia said. “I want to build on that and just get going. It is going to be nice not being in pods.”

Garcia said he is in the process of finalizing his coaching staff, which will have some Capital flavor to it. Rob Yardman and Jonathan Salazar, holdovers from Moon’s staff and who played at Capital in the mid-1990s, will handle the offensive and defensive coordinator positions. Also joining them will be Capital head baseball coach Nicholas Salazar, who also played at Capital during the same span.

Garcia said he will be on hand to help his coaches and said he will have input on game plans and preparation.

“I trust those guys, and at the end of the day they understand that if I want to add my two cents, I am able to do that,” Garcia said. “I am giving them an opportunity to do a good job. They are excited about it.”

Capital workouts

Garcia said the team will be conducting summer workouts from 7 to 9 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Jaguar Field. Individuals interested in playing in the fall are welcome to attend those sessions.

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