Credit: Santa Barbara Unified School District

Former Dos Pueblos coach Nate Mendoza will make a return to the sidelines and take over as head football coach at Santa Barbara High School, replacing JT Stone, who announced his departure after eight seasons as the Dons’ head coach last season.

At Dos Pueblos, Mendoza led the Chargers to three Channel League Titles between 2012 and 2017, capping off his time with a school-record 12 wins in 2017, leading the chargers to the CIF championship game for the second time in school history.

Before coaching football, Mendoza coached baseball at Dos Pueblos, earning four consecutive trips to the CIF playoffs and two Channel League titles, and being named as Channel League Coach of the Year in 2009 and 2012.

“I’m honored and extremely excited to lead this historic football program,” Mendoza said of his new position. “I’m highly motivated to make the Santa Barbara High School community proud of the team that we put on the field. More importantly, I will be committed to improving the lives of every student-athlete I coach personally, academically, and athletically by the time they are finished playing for the Dons.”

The appointment was made official Tuesday by the Santa Barbara Unified Board of Trustees, and Mendoza will also serve as Dean of Student Engagement and teacher at Santa Barbara High, where he has been working as an administrator for the past three years. 

Mendoza’s wife, Jamie Carpio, also works as an administrator in the district, and he credits her for “being his rock and making him the coach he is today.” Together they have three children: Lukas (12), Luna (6), and Lola (1).

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“Anyone who has met Nate Mendoza knows that he loves motivating students,” S.B. High Principal Elise Simmons said. “Whether it is serving as an administrator or a coach, he develops long-lasting and impactful relationships with our students. His positive presence in the hallways and in our classrooms now will be felt on the field. With Nate leading the program, I am confident that our student-athletes will thrive and perform at their highest level.”

The Dons have built a strong football program in recent years under coach Stone, reaching the CIF Southern Section Finals in 2019 and finishing at the top of the Channel League in 2022 with a 9-1 regular season record.

Mendoza will have a wealth of talent returning from last year’s squad, starting with the explosive offensive trio of quarterback Abel Renteria, running back Koa Herrera, and wide receiver Kai Mault.

The rest of the offense is full of returning starters, including offensive linemen Javier Tinoco, Noah Napoles, AJ Gomez, Adrian Chavez, and Malachi Johnston, along with a deep group of receivers with Mault, Tomas Gil, and Winston Bartley.

On Defense, the Dons will be strong up front with Damian Stehno and Parker Roses on the line, Jordan Mitchum and Jacobo Nevarez in the secondary, and a group of four experienced linebackers in Chaz Rosales, Michael Cabral, Samson Perez, and Bode Fauskee. Behind that, the future is bright for Santa Barbara football, with last year’s Junior Varsity squad finishing undefeated in 2022.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Nate Mendoza as the next head coach of the Santa Barbara High School football team,” S.B. High Athletic Director Todd Heil said. “Nate brings a wealth of experience that will help our program hit the ground running and continue the success that has been built these past few seasons.”

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