Minarets high school will be entering the 2015-2016 with new leadership in athletics. Karra Zamora and Jay Smoljan will take over for Don Watkins as co-athletic directors. The announcement comes from Minarets Principal Daniel Ching.
Zamora has been a two-time Central Section Championship volleyball coach at Minarets, as well as a health and physical education teacher. She comes with a successful coaching background and a lot of community support. She will be acting in a role that involves scheduling, CIF compliance, personnel, and student athlete academic success programs.
Smoljan has experience in teaching and coaching at Mt. Whitney and Delano high schools, as well as being the first head coach of the Minarets football program. He has been a physical education and health teacher at Minarets, and has been on staff since the first day the school opened in 2009.
Smoljan will be acting in a role that involves facilities, weights and conditioning, youth programs, community outreach, coach training, and CIF compliance.
“Jay has been the athletic director at Minarets in the past and is excited to return to the position and bring some fresh ideas,” Ching said.
Ching said the school is dedicated to continued growth and expansion of athletics as a source for positive student experiences and student involvement.
“The new weight room facility and morning program has allowed students to be on campus at 6 a.m. for workouts.” Ching said. “The large turnout shows the amount of growth that the school has experienced.”
Watkins has been the AD at Minarets for the past three years, has coached baseball for five years, and basketball for two years. He has helped grow athletic programs, as well as youth sports in the community.
In addition to acting as the AD, Watkins led the school’s baseball team to two Central Section championship appearances, including a D-V title last year. He was Max Preps small schools baseball coach of the year in 2014, and sent eight players to play college baseball in 2014.
“The athletic facilities have expanded under Don’s leadership and the level of success has as well,” Ching said.
Watkins has accepted a position as baseball coach and faculty member at Ohlone Community College in Fremont.
“Minarets student-athletes are dedicated to academics, character and hard work in competition,” Ching said. “Jay and Karra are going to be essential in continuing to create student success.”