Windsor Brings In SRJC Assistant As New Football Coach

Posted By Press Democrat Staff Writer Michael Coit:

Longtime college assistant Robert Gatrell is the new Windsor High School football coach, taking over in time for spring workouts to begin preparing for next season.

Moving over from Santa Rosa Junior College, where he ran the offensive line and was strength and conditioning coach, Gatrell brings a wealth of experience to Windsor. Gatrell was an all-conference lineman at Fresno State and played professionally in the NFL Europe and Arena Football leagues.

Gatrell looks forward to working with high school players. He is a student adviser at Herbert Slater Middle School, in Santa Rosa, and is completing work on a teaching credential.

“This is what I want to do. I want to be a head coach,” Gatrell said. “Windsor’s a program that’s had success in the past. It’s a program I can see doing some great things with.”

Selected from more than a dozen applicants, Gatrell knows football and how to work with players, parents and school officials, said Windsor’s new athletic director Joe Stadum.

“We had great, solid, solid applicants,” Stadum said. “Robert stood out just as an outstanding person and coach. He just had that whole package.”

Windsor filled the vacancy left when Dustin Davis stepped down to join the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department.

After meeting with players on Thursday, Gatrell will assemble a staff and prepare for two weeks of spring ball in May before the school year ends. Then come summer conditioning and putting together practice and game plans for the coming season.

While he has spent the past seven seasons coaching in Santa Rosa Junior College’s spread offense, Gatrell said Windsor will play a style that best fits Windsor’s athletes.

“More than anything I want to maximize the ability and potential of every kid we have in the program,” he said.

Gatrell also was offensive line coach at Menlo College for a year and was a volunteer assistant at Fresno State.

As a player, Gatrell was an offensive lineman four years at Fresno State, earning second-team All-WAC honors as a senior. Drafted by the New England Patriots, Gatrell made the practice squad and eventually played two years with the Amsterdam Admirals in NFL Europe and five years in the Arena Football League with the San Jose Saber Cats, the Utah Blaze, and the Las Vegas Gladiators.

Gatrell returned to the Bay Area, having grown up in Brentwood. He and wife Casey Cole Gatrell moved to Santa Rosa when she took an animal science teaching post at the junior college.

“As a coach I just learned a lot of things along the way about the game and preparing kids to play,” Gatrell said. “My experience as a player just makes kids buy in a little more and listen to what I say.”

Working with teen-agers daily also helps Gatrell relate to players.

“You establish those relationships with kids,” he said. “You can motivate them.”

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