Home Travel consultant Hall of Fame: Football coaching legend Al Garcia prepares to be enshrined | local sports

Hall of Fame: Football coaching legend Al Garcia prepares to be enshrined | local sports


Al Garcia, one of the Central Coast’s most prominent sports personalities for three decades, will soon become a Hall of Famer.

The North Santa Barbara County Sports Roundtable will induct him into its Hall of Fame at the organization’s annual awards dinner on May 18.

“Jennifer Crump is going to introduce me,” Garcia said. He said Crump was a decorated football star when she played for Garcia at Righetti High School.

“I’ll introduce her as my presenter and then she’ll introduce me,” Garcia said with a chuckle. “(NSBCART Manager) Yvonne Biely lets us do it that way.”

From 1991 until his semi-retirement from coaching in 2020, Garcia on several occasions coached football and/or athletics at Hancock College and Santa Maria, Righetti and St. Joseph High Schools.

Garcia worked for 26 years at Delta High School “as an outreach consultant — like a counselor,” he said. He retired from Delta after the 2020 school year.

Al Garcia 03

Al Garcia will be inducted into the Northern Santa Barbara County Sports Roundtable Hall of Fame at the organization’s annual awards dinner on May 18.

He coached the Santa Maria boys’ soccer team to a CIF South Division 4 title in 2005. The Saints beat then-Los Padres League rivals Santa Ynez 4-0 in the championship match at the Huyck de Lompoc stadium.

Garcia’s Hancock football team in 2001 made it to the men’s Final Four of the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) state tournament before retiring.

Garcia said he coached his granddaughter, Julie Corteguera, on the St. Joseph women’s soccer team for the past season before calling it mostly a coaching career.

“Julie acted as a central defender for me in football and went to the (sectional playoffs) in the hurdles on the track,” Garcia said.

“She made me promise that I would retire from coaching after coaching her in her last year of football,” Garcia said. Garcia kept his promise.

Garcia wryly notes that his wife, Patricia, also played a role in his retirement from coaching.

“She said, ‘Look, if you want to keep coaching, you can coach whatever you want, and I’ll do the whole trip alone. “”

Al Garcia chuckled. “I said ‘shit no’. I want to travel.’ Thus, Al’s retirement was finalized.

“I couldn’t have coached all this time without the support of my family,” he said.

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Garcia said two of his fondest coaching memories came from that Santa Maria Sectional Championship team and the Hancock Final Four team.

“I loved that Santa Maria team,” said Al Garcia. “Edgar Miranda was the (sectional) player of the year. Lots of outstanding players.

“(The CIF Southern Section office) was going to have us play the championship game at Mayfair High School,” in Lakewood, Garcia said.

“I’m sitting there going ‘What?! Can’t you talk about it? (Team Santa Maria and Santa Ynez) are so close together. Why would you want us to play down south?’

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Garcia said: “We sold the Huyck stadium. There were 3,000 fans. (CIF Southern Section) made money. If we had played in Mayfair the number of fans there would have been a bus load.

The Hancock Final Four team was filled with homegrown stars, such as Nathan Nuñez, and stalwart goalkeepers Jason Hancock and Jeff Fuehring. Hancock was the early starter, with Fuehring a more than reliable backup.

Isaac Torres, the Western State Athletic Conference MVP and an All-State selection, was a notable exception to the team’s mostly homegrown roster. Torres graduated from Coast Union High School in Cambria.

The Bulldogs also had a strong run in 2002 before being upset early in the playoffs. “I was close to a lot of players from those teams,” Garcia said.

He also proudly acknowledged his time with the St. Joseph women’s soccer team. “I kind of helped build this program,” Garcia said. The Knights were regular playoff contenders after Garcia took over. Garcia also coached the St. Joseph boys’ soccer team for a year. He coached the Righetti women’s soccer team for several years.

He coached soccer and athletics at several schools. “I love the track,” Garcia said. “For a while I helped out (athletic coach Louie Quintana) at Hancock and Righetti.”

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Garcia said he was grateful to be inducted into the NSBCART Hall of Fame.

“When you do something you love, when you dedicate your life to it, making sacrifices along the way because you love children, you expect nothing more. I’m honored to be inducted.

Garcia said he loved the retreat, but “I really miss the kids. I love kids.

He is not COMPLETELY retired. “I do substitute teaching,” Garcia said. “I’m doing a 10-week long-term underemployment at Delta now.”