Jim Arellanes named new Marshall Fundamental football coach

For the seventh time in 10 years, there will be a new sheriff at the helm of the Marshall Fundamental football team when the season starts Aug. 24.

El Rancho High alumnus Jim Arellanes was hired to become the third coach in as many years Tuesday afternoon.

“I saw the position available and I thought it was a unique job, especially since Marshall is a [grade] 6-12 school,” said the 38-year-old Arellanes, a Downey resident. “I’m up for the challenge and I look forward to creating something positive.”

Arellanes spent last spring and summer as an assistant coach at Baldwin Park, but did not coach in the fall. That came after a one-year stint at Los Altos of Hacienda Heights in 2010, in which the team went winless.

Arellanes enjoyed some success in his four years in charge of Northview High of Covina from 2006-09, in which he compiled a 21-22 record, won two Valle Vista League championships and advanced to the postseason twice.

“We conducted final interviews [last] Wednesday among six candidates and narrowed it down to Jim,” Marshall athletic director Phil Calafat said. “He appeared to be the best candidate out of 15 that originally applied and I think he’s the best fit.”

Arellanes played from 1995-96 at Fresno State and battled for playing time with former NFL quarterback Billy Volek and current USC head coach Lane Kiffin, while completing 275 of 453 passes for 26 touchdowns versus 20 interceptions in 19 games.

The quarterback also played for the Rhein Fire from 1998-2001, earning the 1998 World Bowl MVP when, as a backup, Arellanes threw for 263 yards and three touchdowns in the Fire’s 34-10 victory over the Frankfurt Galaxy in World Bowl VI.

“I spoke with players and parents Wednesday evening and just introduced myself and gave them my background and philosophy,” Arellanes said. “I’ve been around this game a long time and I’m passionate to get started.”

Arellanes replaced James Zall, who according to Calafat, was unable to return “due to credentialing issues.”

“James didn’t get fired and there was nothing wrong or nothing he did wrong,” Calafat said. “It was a credentialing issue. He was unable to maintain his teaching position and the administration thought it was best to have an on-campus coach.”

Zall’s Eagles did snap a 19-game losing streak last year, with a 19-13 victory over Douglass in nonleague play on Sept. 8, but finished the season 1-9.

Arellanes, who is credentialed in physical education, will likely take an open P.E. position, although Calafat said there were still some legal obligations and contractual issues to address before any such full-time hire could be made.

Marshall is looking for its first winning season since a 10-3 campaign in 2004. The program has compiled a 6-63 record since then.

“I understand we’re in a tough position with school a week away from letting out and with the summer dead period coming up,” Arellanes said. “We’ve also got a small group of 25 kids in the program.

“With that said, I told the kids that we have 85 days until our season opener and have at least 40 practice opportunities. We can throw in the towel right now and make excuses or we can get going, and they want to get going.”

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