In addition to this recognition, Coach Lopez was also named the Del Rio League Coach of the Year and the Whittier Daily News Coach of the Year. El Rancho Unified School District and El Rancho High are fortunate and proud to have an individual like Coach Lopez who has transformed the football program at El Rancho High School in a very short time.
ERUSD Board President, Dr. Aurora Villon commented, "Eighteen months ago the El Rancho Unified School District set off on a journey to transform itself into a district that is second to none. This transformation requires setting the highest possible standards for the school board, superintendent, staff, and students. Varsity head football coach Vinnie Lopez has delivered. Through his leadership, commitment to high standards, and innovation he has transformed our football team into one that epitomizes our “blue pride.”
El Rancho High School Principal, Jessica Kwek, stated "Coach Vinnie Lopez has brought the excitement and tradition of Don football back to the Pico Rivera community. Our students and athletes feel it as well as our parents and community. I can't wait until next year."
Coach Lopez inherited a football program that had not experienced a winning season in five years and had only won 12 league games in the previous seven years. El Rancho High School had not won a league championship in 17 years. His first task was to change the culture of the football program and the attitude of the players by communicating more effectively with teachers about the academic progress of the football players, disciplining and releasing athletes who did not comply with the new program standards and having tough conversations with students and parents about their behaviors and actions. His next task was to mentor his assistant coaches on effectively motivating their football players.
As a result of his leadership, Coach Lopez has guided the Dons this past season to their first league title in 17 years. In his first three seasons as head coach, the Dons have a combined league record of 11-4. During his first year, the El Rancho High School Dons broke 19 school records, including points scored per game, rushing yards in a game and passing yards in a game to name a few and just missed a second place finish and a spot in the Southeast Division playoffs in 2012. In 2013, the Dons played La Serna High School in week 10 for the Del Rio League Championship but were beaten by the eventual CIF champion. However, the Dons finished 4-1 in league, earned a spot in the Southeast Division playoffs and sent five players to continue their playing careers at the collegiate level. In 2014, the El Rancho High School Dons won the Del Rio League Championship, knocking off the defending CIF champion La Serna on their way to the league title.