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Gonzalez turns page

Irvine Scene

After 11 years at Concordia, decorated cross country and track and field coach will be resigning from position.

April 16, 2011|By Joe Haakenson, Daily Pilot
(Courtesy of Andy…)

Martin Gonzalez wears a lot of hats.

Gonzalez is the men's cross country coach at Concordia University … and the women's cross country coach.

He's also the men's track and field coach … and the women's track and field coach … and the track coach for both the men and women during the indoor season.

In his 11 years at the school, Gonzalez has coached 126 NAIA All-Americans and 11 individual national champions, coached the 2000 women's cross country team to the school's first-ever NAIA championship in any sport, and guided the 2005 and '06 cross country teams to gender-combined national titles.

But once the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships are completed on May 28 in Marion, Indiana, Gonzalez will throw his hats – all of them – into the ring.

Gonzalez, 41, will resign all his posts from the school, even though he has no new job lined up. He calls his student-athletes at Concordia his "second family," but it turns out his "first family" needs him now.

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"My mom is older, I have a 1-year-old baby and everything in between," Gonzalez said. "I'm extremely busy from August (the start of cross country season) to May (the end of track season) every year. Sometimes I felt I was just spread very thin. My mom is getting older and she's living with me and my family. My family obligations are very important."

Gonzalez's household includes mom Maria de Jesus, wife Norma, 15-year-old Alexis, 7-year-old Martin Jesus and 1-year-old Annalia. Now, they get more of "Coach Gonzalez."

Leaving Concordia, however, is not easy for Gonzalez. He's appreciative of the opportunity Concordia gave him after he graduated from Adams State in Colorado with bachelors and masters degrees.

"There's some sadness, of course," Gonzalez said. "For 11 years, it's been my home away from home.

"To start off your coaching career in a Christian environment is huge, especially for a believer. I've been able to work in an environment where I get to go to chapel, and where I get to give God the glory is a special thing and not many places offer that."

Concordia will begin a national search for a replacement after the NAIA track and field national championships. In the meantime, the school has nothing but positive things to say about its popular outgoing coach.

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