There will be a new face coaching boys varsity basketball at Strathmore High School.
The Spartans announced Israel Valdez as their new head coach for the boys’ program this week.
“We're excited to welcome coach Israel Valdez to the Spartan family,” SHS athletic director Ryan Born said. “Coach Valdez's knowledge of the game is very evident as well as his passion for the game and building a successful basketball program sets him apart. I am confident that he will be a great role model to the student-athletes of Strathmore High School.”
In his youth, Valdez for Porterville High School under head coach Lance Wallace. Valdez was on one of the Panther teams that won an East Yosemite League title and went 27-3.
“I gained a respect and mind for the game that would spill over into adulthood and I have no doubt will last me a lifetime,” Valdez said about playing in high school.
Valdez received his bachelor’s degree from William Jessup University, then got his masters in educational leadership from National University in 2020.
“While at Jessup, I was privileged enough to work under Coach Lance Von Vogt, learning servant leadership, skills like breaking down film, analyzing stats, and practice logistics that gave me my first dose of respect and understanding for the coaching side of this game,” Valdez said. “Getting to witness basketball being played at an NAIA level and participating in all that went into running that team was both eye-opening and educating in regards to running a successful program.”
Valdez came back to the Valley and was an assistant coach for Porterville High from 2014-16. He was a part of the staff that won the CIF Central Section Division III championship in 2015. At the end of 2016 Valdez stepped away from coaching and went into officiating.
“Throughout my time as an official, I was able to work some of the top-tier tournaments in our section, as well as southern California,” he said. “When the opportunity to come back to coaching presented itself, I was both excited and humbled to be given the opportunity to bring my passion and love for this game to young players in our area.”
Valdez was an official for four years before deciding to return to coaching as Strathmore’s head coach. He accepted the coaching job with the support of his wife and kids.
“From my first moments on the campus, it was clear there is a community here, one that is proud and family-oriented, one that I am excited to be a part of,” Valdez said. “My goal for this team is to build a culture that helps students learn, grow and build in a way that propels them forward in life, giving them opportunities for their future while learning and loving a game that has brought lifelong friendships and mentors into my life. I know we will do great things here at Strathmore and am very thankful to PUSD, Principal Diane Rankin, and our Athletic Director Ryan Born for the opportunity. Go Spartans!”