ERIC SONDHEIMER / ON HIGH SCHOOLS

Narbonne coach won't settle for 'satisfied' at 14-0

Douglas has been approached on more than one occasion to leave LAUSD. But he's a South Gate High graduate who can't forget how his own coaches helped him find a path to success.

"They really looked out for me by hook or crook and strong-armed me into making it and graduating," he said. "I kind of feel it's our responsibility to do those same things with some of the kids we have now."

One player who inspired Douglas was running back Major Culbert, who rushed for 1,955 yards in 2005 and received a scholarship to Nebraska.

"It turned out he was pretty much on his own, taking care of himself," Douglas said. "He had a different family situation. To see that kid mature and grow up as an athlete.... That kid was one of the hardest workers I've known. He didn't make it to the [NFL], but every time he says, 'Coach, I just want to thank you for everything you've done, and when I make it, you can trust I'm going to take care of Narbonne.'

"Those are the reasons you coach. The fact he comes back when he never has to — those are the relationships that matter most and have kept me grounded and kept me within L.A. Unified."

Having a dedicated partner at home has also helped him through crazy days with long hours. And when he doesn't have that support, well, you can tell.

Several times each year, his wife has to leave the state to teach, putting Douglas in charge of his two young daughters. Teachers know when the daughters show up for school that his wife must be gone, because Douglas isn't particularly good at picking out clothes or putting them in pigtails.

But just like learning a new offense, Douglas is getting better. And he's got somebody he trusts to teach him at home, like his players have someone to trust to teach them at school.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATSondheimer

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