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Oakley Tabs Rodriguez As New Athletic Director, Boys Basketball Coach
Published: 6/8/2017 5:56:05 PM

New Oakley athletic director and boys basketball coach Juan Rodriguez hopes to build on the Hornets' strong basketball tradition.

Oakley High School didn't wait long to fill their vacant athletic director and head boys basketball coach openings.

The school has hired Blackfoot native Juan Rodriguez to take over both positions. He will also teach physical education at the school. The hiring is pending approval by the Cassia Joint School District during their board meeting on June 8th. Rodriguez replaces former athletic director and boys basketball coach Travis Noble, who was hired at Burley High School to lead the Bobcats' boys hoops program.

Rodriguez previously served as the athletic director at Sho-Ban High School in Fort Hall. Along with those duties, Rodriguez was an assistant basketball coach at Century High School in Pocatello and lead the Indian Education Program in the Blackfoot School District as its coordinator.

Rodriguez says that balancing as many hats as he had will certainly help him in his new roles in Oakley.
"Well I feel it has helped prepare me," he said via telephone. "I'm grateful for the experience that I have coming into this new job. I just really want to help keep the ball rolling in Oakley. The support that the community has given my family and I so far has been fabulous and will certainly help along the way."

Rodriguez said that he feels his transition into Oakley should be seamless. 

"I feel it's a very good fit for my family and I," he said. "They have immense community support, the town loves their sports, and they are a tight-knit group. Academics is really important to them and being disciplined is really at the forefront for them as a school, which is something that really attracted me to them."

Rodriguez, who holds a Masters degree in Athletic Administration and Coaching, said that Noble has been very helpful and resourceful to him thus far in this new endeavor.

"Travis has been great to help me get going here," he said. "Being athletic director looks easy from the outside, but after experiencing it for a couple years it can be quite a handful. Then coupling it with being the boys basketball coach can make it overwhelming. But I'm very confident for what lies ahead and I'm stepping into a great situation here, from both an AD and coaching standpoint."

Rodriguez, 29, is no stranger the basketball sidelines either. He previously served as an assistant coach under former North Fremont boys head coach Walter Gates, along with his time as an assistant with former Blackfoot girls head coach Merle Smith. His aforementioned experience in the Century boys program under Lester Stewart and one season as the head coach of the Sho-Ban boys program have given him opportunities to mold his craft.

He takes over an Oakley program that has won 59 games in the last three seasons, including two appearances at the state tournament with a third place finish in 2015-16. 

"Coach Noble has done a fabulous job building the program and establishing a culture," Rodriguez said. "There's a lot of good traditions within the program and I want to keep those and only add to it. We want to play hard-nosed basketball, fast-paced, and play with discipline while being flexible to adjust to whatever is thrown our way."

Rodriguez said that he has already had a chance to meet the returning members of the team and likes what he sees thus far.

"I'm so fortunate to have the kids that I'll get to work with," he said. "Guys like Jayden Palmer, Gannon Critchfield, and more. There are a lot of good kids there."

Oakley is also set to open a brand new gymnasium as well this coming school year. Rodriguez says he's excited about this new venture, their new facility, and is grateful to those who have given him opportunities to learn and grow along the way.

"Guys like Lester Stewart, Walter Gates, Merle Smith, Ty Shippen and Todd Jensen have really helped me along the way and I'm thankful that they gave me the opportunities to learn from them", he said. "My family and I are also just so grateful to be able to be in Oakley and be welcomed into the community in the way that we have and to feel their support. We're excited to get going."

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