Shane Focke is ready to embrace high expectations of leading the Marauders
The search for the next head coach of the Monache High School varsity football team is over after the Marauders recently announced the hiring of former freshman coach Shane Focke.
Focke takes over the reins from Chris Frankland, who was named El Diamante’s varsity head football coach in late December.
Frankland went 11-12 as the Marauders’ head coach and led Monache to the CIF State Central Section Division IV playoffs where the teams won their first games in both years.
“Chris Frankland was great to me,” Focke said. “I learned so much from him that I want to take what he started here and continue it.”
Last season the Marauders built up buzz after going 6-4 in the regular season and earning a bye and No. 3 seed for the playoffs. They advanced to the semifinals but lost to eventual-Valley champion and CIF State Div. 4-AA finalist, Central Valley Christian (12-3).
Considering Monache garnered back-to-back trips to the playoffs and had their first winning season since 2012 last year, Focke knows and welcomes the high expectations people will have for the Marauders.
“I take expectation and I hug it,” Focke said. “I would not have as much fun right now if there wasn’t a buzz, if there wasn’t expectation. I’m having such a blast.”
Focke enters the varsity position after three years and a 21-7 record with Monache’s freshman team. Last year, he led the young team to an undefeated season and a back-to-back 5-0 East Yosemite League finish.
“We’re excited to have Shane here,” MHS athletic director, AJ Watt, said. “He’s a Monache guy who bleeds blue and gold. We’re very confident in his ability to work, the stability that he will bring to our program and enthusiasm that he will bring to the program daily.”
Along with thanking with thanking Watts and MHS principal Eric Barba for the opportunity, Focke thanked his wife, Kelly, for her constant support.
“I wouldn’t be here without her support and her backing me, bottom line,” Focke said.
A 1990 graduate of Monache, Focke played tight end and outside linebacker for the Marauders while also playing basketball and baseball. After high school, he played baseball for one year and football for two at Porterville College. He, and his brother, were members of the Pirates’ last football team. Afterwards in 1994, Focke was a CIF official for 20 years and officiated five state playoff games, including two state championships.
Focke’s experience as an official plays a large part into his coaching as he was able to watch and learn from Central Valley greats like El Diamante’s Mike Rogers and Tulare Union’s Darren Bennett, as well as recognize the plays Carl Scudder will implement as the Marauders’ new offensive coordinator. Scudder coached at Porterville High for five years but made the move to Monache as the defensive coordinator when Frankland took over.
“Coach Scudder is an offensive guru in my opinion,” Focke said. “We both have the same idea as far as attacking a football game. I’m a firm believer in putting something in play that the kids can best succeed at instead of making the kids try to succeed at something I want them too. We’re both on the same page with that and we’re really excited about some of the things we’ll be able to do this year with the football team.”
Focke’s plan is to keep the coaching staff as familiar as possible. In a “no-brainer” move to defensive coordinator is Mando Hernandez, who assisted Scudder on defense last year and has been with Monache the longest of any of the coaches.
On Hernandez, Focke said, “He demands, deserves that kind of respect. ... Mando is very knowledgeable of the defensive schemes.”
Recently Focke began an off-season weight room for players not playing a winter sport and over 40 players showed up. Strength and conditioning is important to Focke and he’ll have Iran Luna leading all three program levels as the strength and conditioning coach.
“I’m convinced that in order to get over that hump, and to beat some of these teams on our schedule that have just given us fits, it will be an offseason workout,” Focke said.
Almost all of the members of Focke’s coaching staff have coached Monache players at some point. Focke, himself, began coaching seven years ago in the youth programs and is excited to coach all the familiar faces once again.
“Every kid in the program has played for me, and the coaches that I brought along, at one level or another,” Focke said. “That’s what’s awesome. Some of them have been with me the whole ride. This [incoming] senior class was my first freshman class and it’s a really special time.”
He added, “I’ve got a really good feeling. This group of kids have been successful they’re whole lives. There’s no reason they can’t be now.”
Athletes under Focke have a lot to look forward too, most importantly pride and family. Focke plans to make sure that every athlete has their own number and won’t have to share with a teammate and have pride in the number they wear. He will also start having the freshman team do a portion of their practice with the upper levels so that all levels will know each other.
“I want these kids to feel individually proud about being part of a family,” Focke said.