Grace Ricafranca | La Habra Journal

Posted on 26 December 2013 by La Habra Journal

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by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

After coaching the Lady Heralds through the first eight games of the season, Richard Villeza has stepped down as head coach of the Whittier Christian girls basketball program, citing personal reasons according to Athletic Director Rolland Esslinger.

Villeza was in his fourth season as head coach.

Grace Ricafranca, who started the season as Whittier Christian’s junior varsity head coach, has stepped in to fill the varsity spot. Ericka Villeza, daughter of Richard, has joined as junior varsity head coach.

The switch was made on Dec. 16, two days after the Lady Heralds wrapped up the Glenn/Norwalk basketball tournament. Ricafranca had five practices with the girls before they began the Knight Time Classic, Dec. 26.

Ricafranca had previously coached junior varsity basketball at Whittier Christian and came back to the same position before this season after two years away from the program. Esslinger will step in to assist Ricafranca for the remainder of the season.

“We made the decision not to seek someone outside the program because the girls had been learning through this system all year, I didn’t want to change that up before league,” Esslinger said. “Grace has coached with Villeza in club and has worked with him over the summer to get the kids ready so it was logical thing to do.”

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