Josean Gonzalez has been named the new wrestling coach at Ponte Vedra High School (PVHS), and he has big plans for the Sharks in the upcoming seasons.
Gonzalez, a recent graduate from the University of North Florida, took a break from coaching wrestling last season to continue his education, but he’s ready to return to the sport he loves.
“It feels great (to be back),” Gonzalez said. “It was the first season in about 12 years that I didn’t have wrestling.”
Among the things Gonzalez wants to do at PVHS is revamp the wrestling room, and he also aims to lead the Sharks to the state tournament this season.
“Placing top three in the district would be above and beyond expectations,” Gonzalez said. “That would be the icing on the cake. If we can do that, then I know we’re headed in the right direction.”
Gonzalez, who began his coaching career at Orange Park Junior High in 2009 and was the head coach at St. Augustine High School from 2012-2017, also wants to focus on the culture surrounding the program and getting more attention on the wrestling program.
“Wrestling often falls to the wayside to other sports,” Gonzalez said. “Having that culture of accountability is definitely something I want to instill at Ponte Vedra.”
Gonzalez has volunteered with the St. Johns PAL Youth Wrestling and Beat The Streets: Jacksonville. He has coached numerous FHSAA state champions, state placers and qualifiers, and one thing he really wants to do at Ponte Vedra is create a youth wrestling program. He said he has reached out to the PVHS Alumni Association to pitch the idea of creating a program that would train students from kindergarten through eighth grade.
“We really need to start them young,” he said. “Having that extra experience, they’ll be very competitive by the time they get to high school. It also teaches good technique, which translates to other sports like football.”