Brownsville’s St. Joseph’s Academy will have somewhat of a new look next season with the announcement coming last week that the Bloodhounds would have a new athletic director and head football coach this fall.

But luckily for those involved with St. Joseph’s, they will be dealing with some familiar faces that just have new job titles. Tino Villarreal has been promoted from first assistant and offensive coordinator to head coach, while former defensive line coach Ben Sandoval, becomes the school’s interim athletic director.

These moves are just a few of the reshuffling going on in St. Joseph’s athletic department. Christian Putegnat, the Bloodhounds head coach for the past six years, will move to defensive coordinator after adding coach of the baseball team to his duties. And Teddy Lopez will make the transition from athletic director to focusing exclusively on coaching the pole vaulters for the track team.


“Here, especially at St. Joe, the culture is a little bit different (than at public schools),” Villarreal told the Brownsville Herald, a 1999 SJA graduate who played on the offensive line for the Bloodhounds under late coach Elvis Hernandez. “If St. Joe was looking for some head coach with 20 or 30 years of experience, then they would probably look elsewhere. But I think they’re excited about (naming) someone who knows the kids, knows the system and understands the culture of St. Joe plus has a vision for the future.

Villarreal is now tasked with getting the Bloodhounds back to the playoffs. Last season’s 5-5 campaign (1-4 in TAPPS District I, Division 2 play) resulted in St. Joseph’s missing the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.

But there is cause for optimism in the Rio Grande Valley. St. Joseph’s will return eight starters on offense, including sophomore quarterback Kai Money. As a freshman, Money accounted for over 2,200 yards of offense and 25 touchdowns in eight games. The Bloodhounds defense will return six starters.

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