Jon Rocha still wears the state championship ring he won as a player with William Monroe back in 1991.
These days, Rocha uses that ring to motivate the current crop of Green Dragons in his first year as head coach.
"It's awesome," Rocha said. "I've gone full circle. I played at Monroe, won a state championship, went to college, came back and now I'm home. It means something to me being back home.
Rocha took over the reins at his alma mater in April after Mark Sanford stepped down. Sanford went 14-38 in five seasons as head coach at Monroe. His 2011 team won seven games during the regular season, and ended the program's 20-year postseason drought. Rocha has been an assistant at Monroe since 2003 and was a defensive coordinator on Sanford's coaching staff.
Rocha will inherit a Monroe team that won just three games last season, but qualified for the Region 3-A East playoffs.
The first-time head coach had his team at Fluvanna County High School Thursday night for a 7-on-7 Tournament held by Scrimmage Play.
Rocha plans to steer Monroe towards more of a balanced-look offensively, whereas the Dragons were more run-heavy under Sanford, and Thursday night was a good chance for Rocha to evaluate how his players are taking to the new system, and the new coach himself.
"It hasn't been such a big change, plus being from there I know most everyone so it's been a real smooth change," Rocha said of becoming head coach. "I know the players and they know me."
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