Football Coaching Milestones 2019

California high school football coaching will never quite be the same without Covina Charter Oak’s Lou Farrar (left), who died in early November. At right is Mike Machado of San Jose Valley Christian, who moved past 12 others on the all-time state list this season. Photos: Legacy.com & 49ers.com.


The list of those with 300 wins continues to grow, but after a season in which we lost a coach on the 300-win list there were two more who retired. That means next season we will be down to just one with 300 or more still going and that coach, Santa Ana Mater Dei’s Bruce Rollinson, is obviously still going strong. All coaches with 200 reported wins or more are now shown on the all-time list and all totals have been updated in our exclusive state record list.

Note: This is a free story on CalHiSports.com. The updated state record list with all reported coaches at 200 wins or more, however, is for Gold Club members only. It’s a list of more than 100 of the greatest in California history that spans more than 100 years. For sign up info to become a Gold Club member, CLICK HERE.

FOR UPDATED LIST (THROUGH 2019 SEASON) OF ALL-TIME STATE COACHING LEADERS IN FOOTBALL, CLICK HERE.

In a 2019 season in which there became just the 11th coach in California prep football history to reach 300 career wins plus three more hitting the 200-win mark and thus being able to join the all-time state list, it has to be stated up front that these lists take on a more special meaning when a high-ranking member of it passes away.

Last year, as the CIF Open Division state championship was being played not far away, it was learned that legendary former St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs head coach Marijon Ancich had died.

This season, the loss of head coach Lou Farrar from Charter Oak of Covina was different in that Farrar was still officially the head coach of the Chargers. Affectionately known as Big Lou in the San Gabriel Valley region of the CIF Southern Section, many of the current players at Charter Oak saw their head coach stage a brave fight against leukemia. Farrar had retired from teaching in 2007 but continued coaching football with the help of his son, Dominic, who is Charter Oak’s athletic director.

Farrar’s health caused him to miss the team’s first game and he also wasn’t able to be there on Nov. 1 when the school renamed its field Lou Farrar Stadium. Just nine days later, with Dominic and his daughter plus his wife of 50 years, Nancy, by his side, Farrar died at City of Hope in Duarte. He was 73.

Over his 40 years as a coach during a head coaching career that began at Royal Oak of Covina, Farrar led teams to five CIFSS titles. We have his win total at 319, but it also was reported at 322 in his obituary. It’s not yet the time to figure out the differences, but his place on the all-time list would be the same with either total.

MORE FROM 300 CLUB

Mike Herrington points to the playbook while directing a practice at Hart of Newhall. Photo: hartindiansfootball.com.


*The newest member of the group, and No. 11 in state history, is Mike Herrington from Hart of Newhall. When he actually won No. 300, however, is open for debate. The locals reported it when the Indians topped Downey 19-13 on Sept. 27. We have it as when the Indians won 34-23 in the CIFSS D4 playoffs vs. Chaparral of Temecula. Forfeits (which we don’t count) could be the difference. Since the end of the season, Herrington has announced his retirement. “I’m going to be retiring from teaching in the spring and it’s time to move on,” Herrington told the Santa Clarita Valley Signal. “No special reason why, just time. Just happens to be the right time.” In addition to the numerous league titles plus four CIFSS titles, Herrington’s ability to mentor and develop quarterbacks is what he’ll most be known for. Hart’s QB this season, Zach Johnson, is just the latest. He has signed with Cal. Others include Brady White (just completed career at Memphis), Kyle Boller (former Mr. Football State Player of the Year 1998 and former NFL QB), Sean Norton (Mr. Football State Player of the Year 2003) and Matt Moore (current back-up to Patrick Mahomes with Kansas City Chiefs).

*Another of the coaches with 300 wins or more who is retiring is Kevin Rooney from Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks. In a statement from the school from late November, Rooney said, “I have been extraordinarily blessed to have been part of the Notre Dame High School Community for the past 40 years and have had the privilege to work with so many outstanding colleagues, coaches and student-athletes.” Rooney led the Knights to 16 league titles and four CIFSS titles in addition to the 316 wins.

*With Herrington and Rooney retiring and the death of Farrar, the only coach on the 300-win list who will still be active next season will be Santa Ana Mater Dei’s Bruce Rollinson. His win totals also involve forfeits (our total is two less than the official total), but he may have to coach into his 70s if there is any thought of catching up to the state record of 399 set in 2012 by Concord De La Salle’s Bob Ladouceur.

HIGHEST RISERS

Here’s a quick look at those coaches who moved up the most on the all-time state list after all 2019 totals have been updated:

+12 – Mike Machado (Valley Christian, San Jose): Coach Machado, who once coached current San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan on the freshman team at Saratoga, had a team in 2019 that went to the CCS D1 final and was a three-way champion in the West Catholic Athletic League.
+12 – Kelly King (Milpitas): After a late-season win over Palo Alto, the Trojans kept on improving and ended up winning the CIF D5-A state title. Coach King’s son, Kelly Jr., almost won a CCS title, too, as the head coach at Leland (San Jose).
+11 – Terry Stark (Inderkum, Sacramento): His Tigers went 11-1 in 2019 and had one of the state’s top records for the 2010s. If Coach Stark gets 19 more wins, he’d become the fourth Mira Loma High (Sacramento) alum to reach 250. The other three are Kevin Rooney, Randy Blankenship and Mike Alberghini.
+11 – Tony Martello (Colfax): The Falcons continued to pile up wins one year after they won a NorCal regional bowl game and lost to San Diego High in the CIF D5A state final.

MORE FROM THE RECORD BOOK

*Joining the state record list this season by virtue of winning their 200th games were Sean Doyle from Cathedral Catholic of San Diego, Trent Merzon of Oakdale and Paul Cronin from Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa. Coach Cronin almost lost his home in Windsor from a wildfire and that was after a fire during the 2018 season destroyed part of his school. Cardinal Newman won its first CIF state title last month with a victory at home over El Camino of Oceanside in the D3-AA championship.

*Former Cathedral of Los Angeles head coach Kevin Pearson returned to the sidelines for the 2019 season at Warren of Downey. He helped the Bears post a 7-4 record. Pearson’s coaching totals thus will be resume to be counted.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports


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