Citrus College head football coach Ponciano steps down; Hayashi named Interim Head Coach

(Photos by Christian Garcia)
(Photos by Christian Garcia)

GLENDORA - After 15 years with the program, including 11 as head coach, Ron Ponciano has stepped down from the Citrus College Football program. Brandon Hayashi has been named the Interim Head Coach and will serve in that capacity for the 2021 season.

"I will remember my time at Citrus College for the incredible student-athletes and assistant coaches that I had the privilege of working with over the past 15-years," Ponciano said. "I leave knowing that I gave my all to the program, and am proud of the success of all those who came through our doors. Through the hard work and dedication of those individuals, the Citrus College Football team was a program that was respected across the region and the State."

Ponciano leaves Citrus with a record that speaks for itself on and off the field. Under his watch, Ponciano helped nearly 200 student-athletes onto four-year scholarships and opportunities. The Owls also went to three bowl games, most recently in 2018. Student-athletes weren't the only individuals to see success during Ponciano's tenure as four of his top assistants would go on to become California community college head coaches in their own right.

"Coach Ponciano's success and contributions to our football program will be missed. Ron connected with his student-athletes, cared for their overall well-being, and made sure they were pointed in a positive direction when leaving Citrus College," said Citrus College Dean of Kinesiology and Athletics Junior Domingo. "This approach carried over onto the field and can be seen with how his teams played every week. We are grateful to Ron for his impact on Citrus College Athletics and more specifically the football program."

The Owls experienced their best two-season stretch in nearly four decades under Ponciano. In 2012, the Owls went 7-4 overall and qualified for the Orange County Bowl, their first bowl berth in four seasons. In 2013, he took the Owls to an 8-3 record and win over Saddleback College in the 2013 Beach Bowl, Citrus' first bowl victory in 25 seasons.

Ponciano came to Citrus in 2015 to serve as the team's Defensive Coordinator, before taking over the helm in 2019.

Brandon Hayashi will take over a program which was unable to compete during the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hayashi returned to Citrus in 2018 serving as a defensive line coach for the Owls. Hayashi was an All-Conference selection for Citrus in 2014 and 2015 before accepting a scholarship to finish his career at Montana State.

"Getting the chance to take over the team where my collegiate career began is both a humbling and exciting opportunity," Hayashi said. "I have had the privilege of learning under Coach Ponciano the last four years and look forward to implementing those lessons and those of the other coaches I've played for and worked with into the identity of this team. Citrus College Football has a proud history, and it is my intention to continue that as we move towards the 2021 season and beyond."

"We look forward to Brandon stepping in to lead the program as our Interim Head Coach. His familiarity with the program will make it a seamless transition," Domingo said. "Coach Hayashi's experience here as player, assistant coach, recruiter and now interim head coach is invaluable as the student-athletes have gravitated towards him and respect him as a leader."

The Owls are set to kick off their 2021 season with a scrimmage at East Los Angeles College on Wednesday August 25th. The season will begin in earnest on Saturday September 4th at Chaffey College. Kick-off is set for 6PM.

(Citrus College Athletics)