There will be a new high school in town this fall and with it, a new football program. The Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) is opening the new Kathleen MacDonald High School in the northern part of Santa Clara. In year one, the school will be freshman only and administrators expect an enrollment total in the low 200s for the inaugural 2022-23 campaign.
Despite solely featuring a class of 2026 students, MacDonald hopes to field a junior varsity football team that can play a full 6-8 game league schedule. Tapped to lead the program and build it from the ground up is former Santa Clara Bruins Head Coach Burt Codera.
“This is a rare opportunity to start a program from scratch. Not too many coaches can say they have done that, and I didn’t want to look back in a few years and regret not taking the opportunity,” remarked Codera on what drew him to taking on the challenge of leading MacDonald in year one of the school. “I’m looking forward to seeing what we can build.”
It’s easy to see why MacDonald Athletic Director Darrin Garcia saw fit to go with Codera for this role. Not only does Codera have family ties to the City of Santa Clara, he is also itching to get back into coaching after having voluntarily stepped away from the game in 2021 for family reasons.
“I spent a lot of time with my family the last year and it was hard for me to be away from the game,” noted Codera. “I realize it’s really important to me, kind of my identity. I’ve always been ‘Coach’ and I was kind of missing something in my life. I knew I had to go back, my wife kind of knew I had to go back.”
“I know Burt very well and it was my sincere hope when the reality of moving over to MacDonald came to fruition and understanding what the school was going to look like, Burt was choice one,” noted Garcia. “And I was fortunate enough to already have a relationship with him, so we talked about it a great deal, all spring, all summer and here we are. I think somebody with the experience coaching at the JC level, as a high school head coach at the varsity level and that is also somebody who can connect and communicate with a diverse group of kids. I think he’s perfect to be honest. We feel very blessed.”
The hope for the Condors this inaugural football season is to fill in for one of the schools that is unable to field a JV team. Coach Codera is confident there will be an opening for his new squad to fill in and is excited to work.
“I’m excited to get started and just bust out everything brand new. Brand new locker rooms, equipment, the field, everything brand spanking new,” said Codera. “It’s just such a unique situation, how are we going to build culture, build traditions? Things that you don’t normally think about.”