California High football coach Eric Billeci endured an offseason of lost-and-found with regards to his staff.
The Grizzlies opened two-a-days this week with a new quarterbacks coach in Dave Kravitz, who is also California’s new athletic director after a lengthy coaching career at San Ramon Valley.
Gone from California, however, is Sean Manuel, the team’s popular defensive coordinator and strength and conditioning coach. The former San Francisco 49ers tight end has followed former Grizzlies coach Tony Sanchez to Bishop Gorman High-Las Vegas.
Billeci said Manuel wanted to stay but departed “100 percent” for financial reasons after his pay was reduced.
Manuel had served as strength and conditioning instructor for the entire student body.
“It was a huge loss,” Kravitz said. “He was such a motivational person overall. All the kids on campus had an opportunity to know him. We’re definitely looking to replace him in that role. … We wish him the best. He’ll do great”
The 47-year-old Kravitz joins a run-oriented team that finished 5-6 overall and 4-3 in the East Bay Athletic League in 2009, Billeci’s debut season. A fitness enthusiast, Billeci expects things to improve as his senior class has now fully absorbed his system.
Also coming to Cal from San Ramon Valley is the Grizzlies new offensive line coach Steve Wallace.
Kravitz compiled a 123-63-5 record from 1992-2008 as San Ramon Valley’s head coach, winning North Coast Section 3A titles in 2004 and 2007.
Last June Kravitz, who will teach history at Cal, gained the athletic director job vacated by Eileen Mantz.
He is excited to be at a school that is undergoing a complete renovation. Among other changes, California is remodeling its classic old gym and adding an events center. Moreover, like at Monte Vista and San Ramon Valley’s stadiums, Cal has added a plush new Field Turf artificial surface that has received positive reviews from the players.
“Dave brings a lot of experience, obviously,” Billeci said. “He’s going to assist me with the development of our passing game. … He’s just a great resource for me to lean on — a lot of it in terms of the administrative stuff and obviously with the X’s and O’s too.”
Kravitz, who came on board in the spring, was the Wolves assistant athletic director under John Raynor for 10-12 years. He taught physical education at San Ramon Valley after resigning as the football coach.
He knows his new school well. Kravitz’s sons Alex and Drew played football at California, and his other two children plan to attend the school.
Kravitz admittedly felt an “emotional ache” in his final days at San Ramon Valley.
“I was leaving a place that was really a second home for me for many years,” he said. “I definitely enjoyed my time there at San Ramon Valley. It was a big part of my personality. It will always be a part of me, for sure.”
He said it be an “ interesting week” when the Grizzlies travel to San Ramon Valley on Nov. 8.