Pittsburg promotes Charlie Ramirez to head football coach

PITTSBURG — Charlie Ramirez is a Pittsburg guy. He was a sophomore linebacker on the Pirates team that beat De La Salle in 1991. He has been the program’s defensive coordinator for the past decade. He watched his own son, Charlie Jr., star for the team.

Wednesday night, Ramirez got a new title.

He is the storied program’s next head coach, replacing the retiring Victor Galli, who announced before the playoffs that his 21st season would be his last.

The Pittsburg Unified School District voted unanimously to approve Ramirez’s hiring.

“This has been 20 years in the making,” Ramirez, 47, told the Bay Area News Group. “It couldn’t feel any better. Being an alum, being in the Pittsburg football Hall of Fame, seeing my son excel at Pittsburg, being the defensive coordinator and then to ascend to this position, man, I couldn’t be any happier. It’s a dream come true. This is fantastic.”

Galli called it Ramirez’s time.

“I had a couple of coaches on my staff that also put in for it and they were qualified as well,” Galli said. “But no one like this guy. This guy, I’ve seen him get cut one time and his blood wasn’t red. It was orange and black. The dude is relentless. His attention to detail is evident in all the years that he ran this defense.

“He’s intense. I knew him as a young man playing football. As a player, he brought intensity. Had a great football IQ. He’s just a natural coach. He studies the game. It’s not a hobby for him. This is a serious business for him. And like me, he is connected to this community. He loves this community.”

Ramirez takes over a program that came within one victory of capturing its first state championship. The Pirates lost to Liberty-Bakersfield 48-20 in the 1-A title game Saturday in Mission Viejo.

Pittsburg must replace four-star quarterback Jaden Rashada and standout receivers Rashid Williams, Khai Taylor and Zack Card.

But Rashada’s backup, Marley Alcantara, and running back Elijah Bow were sophomores, as were three first-team all-league players on defense: lineman Jewelous Walls, linebacker Etene Pritchard, Jr. and defensive back Jadyn Hudson.

“The first order of business is going to be talking to the team and keeping things in order on campus,” Ramirez said. “There isn’t a whole heck of a lot to change. But what we are going to change is going to be substantial enough to basically get us over that final hurdle of winning a state championship.

“That’s going to be the main focus, those little holes that we have to fill in to make sure we get over that next hurdle.”

Ramirez doesn’t anticipate much change within the staff, noting that the coaches have developed great relationships through many years together at various levels.

“We have a good feel for each other,” Ramirez said. “It’s just a matter of getting everybody on the same page under new direction, if you will, and going from there.”

Galli leaves big shoes to fill. He went 182-68-1 and captured 14 Bay Valley Athletic League, two North Coast Section and two Northern California regional championships.

Ramirez plans to lean on Galli as he moves into the new role.

“It is big shoes,” Ramirez said. “But that’s OK. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. That’s what Pittsburg football is. Pittsburg football is historically one of the best, most noted public high school football programs in Northern California.

“It deserves that type of accolade. It deserves that type of attention. It deserves somebody that embraces it, knows it, welcomes it and is going to make sure it stays the same. That’s one thing we’ve all been able to do in Victor’s tenure, especially the last 10 years, since I have been the varsity defensive coordinator, is making sure we take what his philosophy is and take it to the next level.

“That’s going to be my job, take it from what Victor brought in and what Victor established and where he went to where we’re going to go.”

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