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Navarro promoted to MHS head varsity coach
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Patience and persistence paid off for Corey Navarro.

He enters his ninth year with Manteca High’s softball team this spring as its head coach, a position Navarro has coveted throughout his tenure with the program. He interviewed for the job and accepted it last week.

Navarro, who is also on staff with the school’s varsity football team, coached at the lower levels for seven seasons before serving as an assistant under Todd Hardcastle last year.

“I’m elated,” Navarro said. “It’s something I’ve been wanting for a long time. My goal is to turn the program around — Manteca High hasn’t been to the playoffs for almost 20 years in softball. It’s going to take hard work, but it’s a challenge that I look forward to.”

Hardcastle, who took over for former head coach Bill Pinol in 2003, led Manteca to an 11-11 record in his final season and was selected to be a coach in the 20th Annual High School All-Star Baseball/Softball Classic at the University of the Pacific.

The transition for the players and their new coach should be a smooth one. Returning players from the senior class — which includes his daughter, Mariah, a third-year varsity player — will compete for Navarro for a fourth straight season having been with him in the lower levels.

The talent is there for the Buffaloes to compete right away. Middle infielders Selena Gonzalez and Mia Ramirez both started on the varsity team as underclassmen and figure to be cornerstones for the next two years.

“I’m shooting for (a top-three finish) in the (Valley Oak League) this year, and that’s tough in itself,” Navarro said. “With (defending champion) Oakdale, East Union and Sierra — those three programs are very tough.

“I have a good group of girls that I’ve coached for four years. They know how I coach, so it’s a good start. I’m looking forward to good things happening for us.”

Like many other high school softball coaches, Navarro has connections with travel-ball organizations in the area. Navarro was introduced to the sport in the military and played competitively soon after getting out.

His coaching career began with the Manteca Wave before moving on to the California Odyssey, Stockton Roadrunners and now Mayhem Fastpitch.

Navarro played football and baseball for East Union High before graduating in 1987. His wife, Toni, is a Manteca High alumna, as is their eldest child, Marissa (2008), now a junior catcher for Sacramento State.

Corey plans to continue coaching softball at MHS well after Mariah, his second of three daughters, graduates.

“I’m in it for the long haul,” Navarro said. “It’ll keep me sane and keep me busy, and I have a love for the game.”