June 25, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Rob Thompson returning as coach of Saddleback High School football team

Rob Thompson has decided to return as varsity football coach at Saddleback High School. (Photo courtesy Saddleback Athletics).

Saddleback High School athletic director Rob Thompson said Tuesday he is returning as head varsity football coach of the Roadrunners, replacing Paige Nobles, who stepped down after one season.

“I’ve had four head coaches in seven years,” Thompson said. “So I just decided to come back and do it myself. Because I’m on campus, I know the kids. I know how to get things done and we were successful before.”

Thompson coached at Saddleback from 2011 to 2016. The last winning season for Saddleback was in 2015 with Thompson as the coach, which was also the last time the Roadrunners went to the CIF playoffs. Saddleback was 6-5 that season. Saddleback had a 6-5 record under Thompson in 2014 and went to the CIF playoffs that year as well.

The program has had seven straight losing seasons, including last year when the Roadrunners were 0-10 overall and 0-6 in the Orange Coast League. Saddleback did not field a team during the COVID year in 2020.

“I’m back to coaching again, taking over Saddleback to get this program back to a respectable level,” he said.

Saddleback struggled with an inexperienced roster last season and injuries also plagued the team. School officials did celebrate the opening of the new on-campus stadium, which they hope will help the program move in the right direction.

Saddleback will also be in a new league in 2024 under the Orange County conference plan based on teams’ records the previous two years. The five team Zeta League will also include Godinez, Magnolia, Century and Savanna.

Thompson said he has coached high school football for a total of 16 years. He will continue as Saddleback’s athletic director. The school will be adding another athletic director to assist him, he said.

—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com