SANTA MARIA — Righetti High School head football coach Tony Payne is stepping down to dedicate more time to his family and his special education classes.
Payne, who took over the program in 2018, made the announcement during a team meeting Thursday afternoon at the Santa Maria school.
“It’s been an honor to be part of the Warrior football program and a dream come true,’’ said Payne, who graduated in 1995 from Righetti. “I love Righetti High School, and I’m not going anywhere. I plan to help this program to continue to grow and thrive.
“I am proud of what we have accomplished in the last five years, and I am forever grateful for the chance to coach and teach at my alma mater,” Payne said. “There are so many people that have supported our program and I greatly appreciate all of them. Football is a tough sport for tough kids, and I appreciate the commitment and the sacrifice that my Warriors make for this program. Shout out to the ‘Chosen Ones’!”
The search for a new head coach will begin in a few weeks under the guidance of Righetti Athletic Director Kevin Barbarick, said Principal Ted Lyon. “The goal will be to find an individual who is committed to improving our student athletes as players and citizens. The school is very grateful for Coach Payne and his work with our student athletes over the past five years.’’
Last year, the team, assistant coaches and Payne won the CIF-Central Section Division 5 Championship.
— Dave Mason