Salute to Peter Ackermann

Pete Ackermann, the longtime head coach at Oaks Christian of Westlake Village, hoists 2021 SoCal D1 title trophy after Lions topped Roosevelt of Eastvale last June. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Longtime softball coach and athletics coordinator at Oaks Christian of Westlake Village died last Saturday from a heart condition at age 77. Last June’s CIF SoCal D1 championship game that the Lions won in dramatic fashion, 6-5, over Roosevelt of Eastvale unfortunately wound up as Pete’s last game. His final career record of 651-148-1 is currently No. 15 in state history, but his legacy as his school of course will be much more known for what he did working with all of the staff and student-athletes there.

After the 2021 Oaks Christian High softball team ended its season with a 6-5 win over Roosevelt of Eastvale for the CIF Southern California D1 regional championship, head coach Pete Ackermann was looking forward to the 2022 season. He talked about some of the top players who would be returning, including three of the leading hitters — Anahi Arreola, Rylee McCoy and Lily Knox.

Sadly, Ackermann himself won’t be back. He had gone to the hospital earlier last week for surgery on his heart. According to assistant coach Steve Sakakini (who helps us with info from Oaks Christian on all of its teams), Ackermann had come through the surgery, but a complication arose two days later. He passed away early last Saturday morning. He was 77 years old.

“Pete was a serious individual and a ‘deep well’ that you needed to explore slowly over time in order to fully appreciate him,” said OCS Head of School Rob Black. “If you only crossed Pete’s path briefly, or had short conversations, you would miss out on who he really was. Without a doubt, above all else, Pete loved the Lord, his school, his friends and colleagues, and the softball student-athlete young women he coached and mentored at Oaks Christian. It is an incredible privilege and joy to have been able to count Pete as a dear and personal friend.”

Ackermann’s 2021 team ended the season 34-1 with its only loss to Los Alamitos in the CIF Southern Section D1 semifinals. At the time of the loss, the Lions were No. 1 in the state and in contention for the final No. 1 ranking in the nation ( Since it hardly ever happens that a team stays No. 1 after a loss, St. Francis of Mountain View was elevated the next week to No. 1 in the state and then didn’t lose for the rest of the season. That’s why Oaks Christian was No. 2 in the final state rankings, but regardless will go down as Ackermann’s best team.

For his career, Ackermann finished with a 651-148-1 record, which is currently 15th best in state history. He began his career in 1994 at Newbury Park and went to Oaks Christian when the school started in 2000. Another highlight of his career was a 46-game win streak from 2003 to 2004 that is still the CIF Southern Section record (tied for 6th on the state list). It also was during that time in 2004 when Ackermann was named State Coach of the Year.

Ackermann got the most satisfaction, however, when he’d visit with former players and students.

“Wins and losses are not as important as establishing relationships with students,” Ackermann was quoted as saying in the release by the school about his death. “As coaches, we need to open up about ourselves and show how much we care about the young men and women we coach. Sometimes they don’t get it instantly, but it opens doors for communication down the road. I get such pleasure staying in touch with our alumni, and when they come back to visit and I get to see their life’s success and their new families. That’s the real win.”

Pete was always supportive of the work we do at Cal-Hi Sports and he often took time to send in nominations of his players for various honors. We will miss our interactions with him and we send our deepest condolences to the Oaks Christian athletic community.

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