AHS hires new coaches

AHS welcomes new football coach, new AD
Posted on 08/01/2018
ADELANTO — As Adelanto High School looks to enhance its focus on athletics, the Saints have hired a new head football coach and a new athletic director for the 2018-19 school year.

AHS Principal Ebony Purcell and incoming Athletic Director Brandon Mikkelson have brought in new head coach Ghalee Wadood in an attempt to turn around a football program that has struggled since the school opened its new campus four years ago. While the Saints have excelled in other sports including basketball and soccer, success on the gridiron has been elusive.

Wadood is a former collegiate player with extensive experience as an individual trainer for football players; he also served as an assistant football coach for Oak Hills High School in 2014. 

Purcell said Wadood’s hiring might help ensure that local athletes stay local. 

“Coach Wadood was a good fit for AHS because of his knowledge of the game, community connections and passion for student-athletes that aligns with our goals for students and the vision for our athletic program,” Purcell said. “Over the years, Adelanto students have excelled academically and athletically for schools across the High Desert. Coach Wadood is the person that will begin to put an end to this unfortunate cycle.”

All new Saints students are encouraged to come to the AHS gym on Thursday, Aug. 2 at 5 p.m. to meet the principal, staff and coaches. There will be campus tours and the opportunity to purchase PE clothes, ASB cards and more. Physicals will be provided for $20 (cash only).

Wadood is a San Jose State grad and a Los Angeles native who’s been in the High Desert for eight years. He said he wants to build a powerhouse football program in Adelanto, but he acknowledges it may not happen overnight.

“(The players) have to believe in my vision; they have to believe in the program,” Wadood said. “It’s not just about football to me. I have to make sure that they are taking care of business in the classroom and just being young men. … Just do the simple things; be on time and don’t miss practice. Those little things will help this program go in the right direction.”

Wadood said he had a chance to evaluate talent in spring practices and “there are definitely some kids who can play. Definitely.”

Mikkelson, already a P.E. teacher and baseball coach in his fourth year at AHS, was part of the hiring panel for Wadood. He is taking over the AD job from Doug Wakefield, who is stepping down from the role to spend more time with his family. Mikkelson said he has received some mentoring from Wakefield, was still officially the AD until the end of the school year. 

“I think we have accomplished a lot (in basketball and soccer),” Mikkelsen said. “In baseball we’ve been getting better every year. Most of our sports have been heading in the right direction. … I just want to take what Doug Wakefield has done and just continue to grow, and continue to get better across the board, in every sport.”

Wakefield will stay at AHS as a PE teacher. He said he’s looking forward to devoting more time to his two young children, but he added “I already miss the job.”

Purcell said the school has also brought in a new cheer coach, Tiffany Bradley. 

“This is an exciting time for AHS athletics,” Purcell said. “Our vision for the athletic program is to continue to build on the momentum we have made while confirming to the community that AHS is the only high school for students of the Adelanto Elementary School District and residents of Adelanto. Good things are in store for us.”


Photo caption: From left to right, AHS Head Football Coach Ghalee Wadood, Principal Ebony Purcell and Athletic Director Brandon Mikkelson in the AHS gym.
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