San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Gonzales continues career climb

    Photo courtesy of Ernie Anderson, SDSU Athletics Media Relations
    Defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales coaches during a fall 2017 practice.


    During his seven years as head coach, Rocky Long has built San Diego State’s football program up to one of national recognition, culminating in an AP top-25 ranking at the end of last season.

    But Long was not alone in his journey to the top of the Mesa. The name Danny Gonzales doesn’t ring many bells when attributing just where the Aztecs’ success has come from, but it should.

    For the start of the 2017 football season Gonzales may be on his way to get some more of that recognition after Long named him defensive coordinator.

    The promotion from safeties coach, while not meaning Gonzales will be doing anything different, is yet another milestone to his and Long’s relationship, which started nearly twenty years ago.

    Gonzales was a safety and punter for the University of New Mexico from 1994 to 1998. Long began coaching there in 1998.

    “His first year with New Mexico was a completely different culture than what we had, and I bought into right away,” Gonzales said.

    Long quickly brought the possibility of coaching to Gonzales’ attention. Gonzales started out his coaching career as a graduate assistant, before becoming New Mexico’s special teams and safeties coach from 2005-2008.

    Gonzales left his alma mater for a high school coaching stint, but Long called him in 2011 and asked him to join him at SDSU.

    “The second he called it was a no brainer. I would’ve rode my bike out here if that’s what it took,” Gonzales said. “He’s been unbelievable to me my whole coaching career. He’s been unbelievable to work for and he’s taken of me and my family, it’s a real blessing.”

    Long said he saw Gonzales’ potential from the very start.

    “When he got done playing he wanted to be a graduate assistant and he was a very good one, so you knew he would be a good coach,” Long said. “I just didn’t know that he’d be with me and that he’d end up here.”

    The position of defensive coordinator has meaning in that Long gave Gonzales the title, after holding it since he came to SDSU under Brady Hoke’s regime in 2009. Gonzales will also be the first defensive coordinator under Long.

    Gonzales will continue to serve as safeties coach.

    “The last couple years he’s been doing all the groundwork, as far as breaking down film, evaluating the opponent,” Long said. “He’s basically going to be doing the same thing he’s been doing the last three years.”

    Gonzales agreed.

    “I feel honored that he gave me the title. What he does on the sidelines is magical.

    We’re not going to be changing anything too much, we’re gonna keep it the status quo,” Gonzales said.

    Under Gonzales, the Men on the Mesa led all D-1 teams in interceptions (26) in 2016, and with 51 have the most since the start of the 2015 season. Since his arrival in San Diego in 2011, the Scarlet and Black rank third in interceptions (102) and fifth in interceptions returned for touchdowns (15).

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    San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
    Gonzales continues career climb