Caines takes over the helm of Santa Barbara High football

Doug Caines, the defensive coordinator for the Santa Barbara High football team, has been named the program’s permanent head football coach.

Caines, 29, replaces Jaime Melgoza who resigned two weeks ago for family reasons. He was named the interim coach after Melgoza’s resignation, and the interim tag was dropped on Wednesday.

“I’m excited at the opportunity,” Caines said before a spring football practice. “I’ve been here for six years working hard at building a program for the kids with Jaime and the former coach (Will Gonzalez). I’m excited to put together, I think, what’s been missing at Santa Barbara.

“I grew up at a time when this was the high school where you wanted to play football … Santa Barbara is where you wanted to be. I think we need to get back to that kind of culture of an attitude and a swagger that’s of confidence not cockiness; believing in the work we do here, laying a foundation for our student-athletes. Having that translate on the field and in the classroom is icing on the cake.”

A Santa Barbara High graduate (Class of 2000), Caines is a teacher at the school, working in film and video production. Melgoza, also a SBHS alum, was an off-campus coach.

Caines takes over a program that returns several experienced and talented players, including receiver Emilio Gonzalez, quarterback Shawn Ramos, running back Cheroke Cunningham and linebacker Jason Jimenez. The Dons went 5-5 last year.

“We’re returning kids that will be playing in their 21st varsity game,” Caines said. “Two years ago we started at least 14 sophomores. This is the senior year for that class. We’re expecting big things only because of the work they’ve done to this point. We’re very excited for the team Jaime Melgoza put together, and I get to finish the season off with that group.”

Ramos said the players and students involved with the football program signed a petition asking the administration to hire Caines as the full-time coach.

“They had 100 signatures,” Ramos said.

Ramos said having Caines take over keeps continuity in the program.

“Just knowing every kid and knowing what they’re capable of doing, not having to learn everything” is a big plus, Ramos said. “He already knows everything.”

Caines was a center when he played football at Santa Barbara. (“I was a little heftier then,” he laughed). He twice earned All-Channel League honors and was an All-County selection.

Caines’ mother, Jo Ann Caines, is the principal at La Cumbre Junior High.

“I got the teaching bug from her,” he said. “I tried to shake it initially, but here I am.”

Caines becomes the second new football coach at a Santa Barbara school. Anthony Linebaugh from the Stockton area took the job and San Marcos. Dos Pueblos is still searching for a coach.

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