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Dillon aims to "influence, inspire, motivate" students

J Marty Dillon A coach, athletic director, and teacher; these are all areas where J. Marty Dillon has worked throughout his numerous years of teaching. 

His great passion for athletics and sports is what motivated him to become a coach and study Physical Education, while also studying History at California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo, California. While in college, Mr. Dillon got his first coaching job as a baseball coach for 13-14-year-olds. His passion for sports and the ability to impact young people through athletics never left him, and to this day Mr. Dillon is still coaching at Kofa High School.  

After he graduated from college, Mr. Dillon took on his first teaching job at Yuma High School, but after three years he decided to move back to Hollister, California. In Hollister, he raised his three daughters and spent 20 years teaching, coaching, and serving as not just an Athletic Director, but also an English, Algebra and U.S. History teacher. After two decades, he decided it was time to head back to Yuma and took up the head wrestling coach position at Kofa in 2003, and teach PE and weight training. The 2019-20 school is now Mr. Dillon’s 17th year at Kofa, and he remains still one of the school’s most dedicated teachers. 

As the Kofa Wrestling coach one of his highlights was when his 2006-07 wrestling boys finished second in the Arizona Division II State tournament. To this day, their 45-5 dual meet record still ranks second in Arizona Wrestling History. Mr. Dillon was able to win numerous titles while at Kofa, but said he always valued the connection with his players a bit more than the wins. 

When asked, what motives him after 41 years of teaching, he responded: “I simply love the relationships and the interactions with students that allows me to teach them anything new whether that be history related or life-related.” 

Mr. Dillon’s passion resides with students and being able to impact them, something he is very grateful to be a part of. 

“Developing relationships with young people,” said Mr. Dillon, when asked his favorite thing about teaching. “That allows me to influence, inspire, and motivate them to work hard with lots of pride and confidence and set goals for success in future endeavors.”

In past years Mr.Mr. Dillon has taught Advanced Placement World History and AP U.S. History, both rigorous courses that require a teacher who understands the subject and has the willingness to spend extra time to help students learn the specific material. A past student of his, Aleena Linton, described Mr. Dillon as “a teacher who not only teaches you the subject matter, but also the strategies needed for an AP test.”

Multiple students had similar things to say when asked about Mr. Dillon. He is seen as a tough, “say it how it is,” type of teacher, but this is what prepares students for not only their courses after his class but life as well.  His manner of teaching is to approach the day with an attitude that he can teach students something new every day. Not only does he shed light on historical questions but his vast knowledge of music, movies, and sports as well. 

Benjamin Franz, head of the Social Studies department of Kofa, describes Mr. Dillon as “a highly dedicated teacher who sets high standards for his students and will do everything in his power to help his students achieve those standards.

Mr. Dillon is a very dedicated and persistent man, whether he was coaching or teaching history he treated his players like his students and his students like players, making them a high priority and leading them to success. In his 40-plus years in the public education sector, he has been able to touch and influence thousands of students’ lives, something that will stick with him forever.

Karen Ornelas, KHS