Seth Davis’ brisk ascension up the football coaching ranks began five years ago when he served as the defensive coordinator for Weston Ranch’s freshman squad.
“After coaching for two days that was it. It was set in stone in my head that one day I will be a high school varsity football head coach,” the 25-year-old Mantecan said.
On Wednesday, his wish was granted. Weston Ranch Athletic Director Pat King announced that Davis is taking over as the school’s varsity head coach.
Davis is the fourth varsity head coach as Weston Ranch goes into its 10th season. It is his hope to bring stability and enthusiasm to the program that has qualified for the Sac-Joaquin playoffs just once. He replaces Mike Hale, who led the Cougars to a 15-35 record in five years.
“I have zero ambition to coach at the next level,” Davis said. “I want to stay at the high school level. This is what I’ve wanted ever since I graduated high school.”
While still inexperienced as a coach, Davis said he brings experience as a player on a winning program. He graduated from Manteca High in 2006 and was a starting safety on the 2005 SJS Division III championship team. It was then that he began to forge a tight-knight relationship with Manteca defensive coordinator Rick James, whom he considers a mentor.
“There are role models I look up to at Manteca High,” Davis said. “I got to learn from someone who, in my opinion, is one of the best defensive coordinators in the section if not the state.”
Davis is also the co-head wrestling coach at Weston Ranch along with King, who calls Davis his “right-hand man.” King was Manteca’s wrestling coach when Davis was a freshman before he accepted a job at then-fledgling Weston Ranch. The two have remained close since.
“Seth is a loyal guy. I coached him and he coached under me, so he understands me,” King said. “He has my full support along with the support of the administration and the community in every aspect. I think we share the same vision for Weston Ranch football.”
Davis was the freshman defensive coordinator for two years before leading the sophomore team as head coach in 2010, guiding that squad to a 6-3-1 record. Two years ago he returned to Manteca as a defensive assistant, and this past season he was defensive coordinator for the Weston Ranch varsity.
Davis wears many hats. He is a surveyor for MCR Engineering, a campus monitor at Weston Ranch and a reserve firefighter in Manteca. His dad, Bob Davis, is the Manteca Fire Battalion Chief. Mom Sherri Davis worked in food service at East Union High.
Not short on confidence, Seth looks for Weston Ranch to be competitive with usual Valley Oak League powers Oakdale, Sierra and Manteca but understands the program has a long way to go. With small-school state champion Central Catholic of Modesto likely joining the VOL in two years, it will be that much tougher for Davis and the Cougars.
“I’m big on competition,” he said. “I’m thrilled that Central Catholic is going to be in our league. I know we’ve been (finishing) in the bottom half (of league), but I look forward to competing with teams that played for state championships like Central Catholic and Oakdale.”
Weston Ranch’s 2013 prospects look promising. It brings up a sophomore class that finished 7-3, and while the varsity Cougars went 4-6 last year the defense proved to be the team’s strength under Davis’ direction.
“A lot of people don’t know this, but not a single player rushed for over 100 yards against our defense last year,” Davis said. “That was a good statement for our kids and a confidence builder for myself.”
Davis said he plans on meeting with players and potential coaches next Monday. Lower level head coaches Norberto Ferdin and Ron Wayman won’t be able to return next year. Davis plans on bringing in a mixture of on-campus teachers and staff members and fellow Manteca High alumni to fill coaching spots at every level.
“My main focus is on getting numbers out there,” Davis said. “The main thing we’ve struggled with is getting kids out and keeping them. I don’t want them to only succeed on the football field, but also in the classroom. I want to help change the culture at Weston Ranch.
“I want us to be a respectable program in the league, and I don’t want anyone looking past Weston Ranch anymore.”