The New Leader at Gladiator Arena

3 years 9 months 1 week ago Thursday, July 06 2017 Jul 6, 2017 July 06, 2017 5:48 PM July 06, 2017 in Sports

ROMA – With his shades on, Frank Villanueva is ready to roll as the new head football coach of the Gladiators.

"Excited, can't wait for the season to get going,” said Villanueva. “Like you said, didn't expect it happened and I'm in it all the way.”

Villanueva replaces Max Habecker, who left the program to become the linebackers coach at Edinburg North.

After six seasons as the Gladiators’ defensive coordinator, Villanueva is ready for his new role.

"I've known a lot of these kids since they were in elementary so I've seen them grow up. The coaching staff, we know each other. We've grown close together. We all feel comfortable around each other, which I think it would make it an easy step forward,” said Villanueva.

As Roma’s defensive coordinator, Villanueva engineered success on the field. The Gladiators had the best overall defense in district 31-5A the last three seasons. During that span, Roma made the playoffs twice.

"A lot of those kids we have right now are returning defensive guys,” said Villanueva. “They were kind of excited when they heard I was taking over and well, it felt good.”

The Gladiators have won at least half of their games each season over the past six years. Villanueva looks forward to keeping the streak alive.

“Keeping the kids humble and making them work hard.  And the coaching staff, keeping them on their toes, making sure they’re working,” said Villanueva.

Villanueva said he still has some spots to fill on his coaching staff before the season begins.

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