WATSONVILLE — Monte Vista Christian announced last week it is adding two new head coaches to the athletics department for the upcoming school year.
Jeremiah Spears was officially named the head track and field coach, while Ben Bajarin was brought in to coach both the boys and girls tennis teams.
Monte Vista Christian athletic director Ben Coleman said both coaches have a three dimensional model the school looks at, which is coaching the body, mind and spirit.
“What stood out about them, first and foremost above everything else, was that they have a mindset of being three dimensional in their coaching,” Coleman said.
Spears took over as interim head coach last season. He helped lead the Mustangs’ boys team to a Pacific Coast Athletic League-Cypress championship.
Spears also helped lead the girls’ team to a third place finish in the PCAL-Cypress championship right behind Pacific Grove and this year’s winner Stevenson.
Coleman describes Spears as a cool, calm and collected type of person.
“(Spears) knows the sport quite well, having participated in it most of his life,” Coleman said. “I just felt like he would help us with the interim before we decided what direction we were going to go.”
Coleman said having Spears as the interim coach gave him the opportunity to see what he brought to the table.
“(Spears) did a fantastic job with our athletes and our parents to the point that near the end of the season, instead of going out and doing a full search we had our guy right there,” Coleman said.
Spears has always had a passion for track and field since middle school, where he holds records in the high jump and triple jump at Aptos Junior High
Spears attended Aptos High where he competed in the triple jump, long jump, hurdles, decathlon and high jump, which he held the school record mark for nearly a decade.
Spears also competed collegiately at Long Beach State. He became the assistant high jump coach at Aptos High when he came back to Santa Cruz.
Coleman said he knew when Spears took on the role as the interim coach that it wouldn’t be just a temporary thing.
“(Spears) took it on like he owned it and won his relationship with our student athletes,” Coleman said.
Coleman also noticed Spears gelled with the rest of the coaching staff already in place.
“(Spears) is not one of those coaches that would just walk in, do his job and then kind of walk out,” Coleman said. “Really did a great job of building community.”
Bajarin has been an assistant coach for MVC the past two years, which gave Coleman a chance to see the interaction between his future head coach and the parents.
“(Bajarin) is faith based and has a relationship with Christ, which is pretty big to us being a Christian school,” Coleman said.
Bajarin, 41, said it was an easy transition for him and that he has always believed in both tennis programs.
“It’s a great school and it’s a great athletic community,” he said. “Obviously, I love tennis so my vision was to see the program grow and flourish, becoming one of the better tennis programs in the Bay Area.”
Bajarin said his biggest focus is program building. He’s expecting the entire team to return and is hoping to recruit new players.
“One of the things I love about tennis, it’s a lifelong sport,” he said. “I’m still convinced a lot of athletes just don’t know or understand the benefits of tennis, especially at the next level.”
Bajarin said tennis is a sport where there are many collegiate opportunities because of the way the Pro Tour works.
“Most females that are good enough can go to academies and they never really play in college,” he said. “There’s plenty of opportunities at the next level.”
Bajarin played tennis for 25 years, including at the high school and collegiate level. He is also a certified USPTA Tennis Professional that includes an Elite credential.
Bajarin’s experience includes facilitating workshops and coaching clinics with the Bay Area’s top Junior Tennis players along with Division I and II players.
Bajarin has held coaching clinics at schools like Stanford and UC Berkeley.
Bajarin currently coaches students in the Bay Area and at the Morgan Hill Tennis Club. He’s also an active player in the United States Tennis Association and competes in Open tournaments.
“Obviously he’s got great background in tennis,” Coleman said. “Just his desire and passion to teach the game of tennis with that three dimensional model that we’re using.”
MVC is currently looking to fill the varsity softball coach and varsity wrestling coaching positions as soon as possible. Coleman said the school is also looking for sub-varsity assistant coaches and middle school coaches.
For more information, visit the school website at https://www.mvcs.org