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Football coach Hildebrand steps down at Woodcreek

By: Bill Poindexter, Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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John Hildebrand has resigned as head football coach at Woodcreek High School.

Hildebrand said Monday afternoon his decision to step down after six years at the helm took considerable thought and wasn’t easy. And because preparation for next season already has begun, he didn’t want to drag his decision into the spring.

“It’s the right decision for myself and my family,” said Hildebrand, who has a wife and 2-year-old daughter. “I’ve never been in this position, but I’m excited to see what it’s like.”

Hildebrand has led what he described as a “pretty rapid lifestyle” over 15 years of coaching. There was no one moment that stood out, though he said the last six years as head coach of the Timberwolves and as a husband and father “have been the most exciting and fulfilling, really, of my life.

“It’s just been a tremendous experience. It’s a tremendous community. It’s tough to step away. We have great coaches. But I’m looking forward to taking the next step.”

The Timberwolves were 22-41 in six years under Hildebrand. After going 0-10 in Hildebrand’s first season, 2007, he led Woodcreek to a 6-6 record in 2008 and into the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the first time in school history. Woodcreek then scored its first football playoff victory, 31-24 over Oak Ridge, before losing to Grant 49-14. Grant went on to win the CIF Open Division State Bowl Game over Long Beach Poly.

Woodcreek also made it to the playoffs in 2009 but hasn’t qualified in the past three seasons. The Timberwolves compete in the rugged Sierra Foothill League with Granite Bay, Rocklin and Del Oro, each of which has earned a bid in a State Bowl Game the last three years. Granite Bay won the Division I state championship in December.

Woodcreek assistant principal Mark O’Hair noted Monday that coaching in this day and age has become “a year-round, all-day job. But they’re still teachers. It’s just eating him up. He’s going to take a year off and catch his breath.”

Hildebrand remains a full-time physical education teacher at Woodcreek. O’Hair said Hildebrand established Woodcreek’s summer and weight-lifting programs, and he hopes Hildebrand will return to the football program in some capacity — and soon.

“He knows football very, very well. The biggest thing that speaks for the whole thing is he’s the only coach to ever put us in the playoffs,” O’Hair said.

In the immediate future, Hildebrand said he plans to spend more time at home, visit his parents more and maybe take a summer vacation “that doesn’t revolve around football.”

Contact Bill Poindexter at billp@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at BillP_RsvPT.