If you think that high school coaches are one-dimensional or unimaginative because they always seem to be fretting about Mater Dei's backcourt, Capistrano Valley's receivers, or the Sunny Hills pitching staff, well, think again.
It's very easy to bring out the kid in these coaches.
Just ask them what was the best Christmas present they ever received, or, better yet, what they'd like to see under their tree this year, and you'll find some creative and imaginative answers.
Of course, coaches are often restricted by dwindling budgets, so in the spirit of the holiday season, they were told that money was no object--Santa Claus' line of credit would be unlimited.
So, let's deck those school halls and see what kinds of presents a random cross-section of county coaches either received in the past or would like to see Wednesday morning:
BOB JOHNSON, El Toro football coach: "Nothing major--how about a beach house at Del Mar and a 1955 Chevy to drive there in? Ideally, the Chevy would be red and white and have a winning lottery ticket in it. At Del Mar, I could play the ponies every day and then commute to practice in the car."
BILL CROW, Mission Viejo football coach: "I never got anything wild and wooly like a horse or a Porsche or anything like that. Most of what I got was pretty basic. But I remember that the first train set I got was a big deal--that was a big highlight."
GARY McKNIGHT, Mater Dei basketball coach: "I'd like one of those big-screen TV monitors to watch (basketball) tapes with. I'm tired of watching tapes on a 12-inch screen. How about one of those big Mitsubishis with a 46-inch screen?"
JIM PERRY, La Quinta basketball coach: "A win? Actually, I got a black Schwinn bicycle cruiser when I was in about the fourth grade and I thought that the world had come to an end.
"I take that back--our best Christmas was three years ago when we enjoyed our first Christmas with our son, Brandon, who'd been born at the end of November. That was pretty special."
HI LAVALLE, Canyon baseball coach: "I got a typewriter was I was back in college (Compton JC) about 1950. Nobody in our family had had anything like that before. That was very important at the time."
MARIJON ANCICH, Tustin football coach: "I'd like six tackles weighing about 230 pounds each from Texas or Oklahoma to transfer in to Tustin."
GREG COOMBS, Santa Ana basketball coach: "If you wanted to be selfish you could say a condo at Lake Tahoe on the ski slopes. Since it's basketball season, you'd never get up there to use it, but at least you could say you owned it.
"On a more humanitarian level, I'd like to see all of our players be able to go to college, between grades and costs and all. That may be a little corny, but it would be pretty nice if it came true."
JOHN HANGARTNER, Magnolia football coach: "I think I'd like a trip to Bermuda. That always sounds nice in December. That might be fun. Actually, my wife Janel and I have gone to Hawaii and Mexico City to celebrate our wedding anniversary (Dec. 29) before, so maybe next year we'll go to Bermuda to celebrate our 30th."
TOM GREGORY, Savanna basketball coach: "I got a surfboard from Santa Claus once and that was my most exciting Christmas ever. I'd always wanted one and none of the other kids had one. That was when I was about 11 years old.
"Now what I want is a 6-9 center who's ugly and can play defense, but Santa never gives me one. I always get 6-2 guards who are good looking. If a guy is ugly, he's probably a social outcast, so he won't be getting into trouble going to dances and all that other stuff.
"Yes, an ugly center would be ideal. I've got it all mapped out, but Santa hasn't come through yet."
JOE REID, Estancia basketball coach: "I'd like to see (Corona del Mar star forward) Jeff Fryer move out somewhere. If he left town, it would be a pretty balanced league."
DICK KATZ, Westminster basketball coach: "Our best present was back in 1977 when our daughter Dana was born a few days after Christmas. Now my wife is yelling that she was born in 1975, so I guess it has been 10 years already. See how time flies?"
BOB LESTER, El Modena football coach emeritus: "Oh, the first bicycle trick was the neatest thing I got while growing up, I guess.
"Now? How about a nice fishing boat with a 100 h.p. outboard motor? That would be outstanding. As long as you're dreaming, you might as well go big, huh'? "
A league apart: You know the new league that Orange, Woodbridge, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Trabuco Hills, and Costa Mesa are forming for the 1986-87 season? Well, you can stop calling it "that new league." It has an official name.
Meet the Pacific Coast League, as voted on by the student bodies of those respective schools. Frank Infuisino, principal at Costa Mesa, will be president of the league, overseeing the administrative end of the athletic association.
Noted Costa Mesa football coach Tom Baldwin, "We're trying to have as few rules as possible written up in the league constitution. That way there are less rules to worry about or break."
"We don't know which conference we'll be in yet, though. Maybe they'll move the Century League into the Big Five Conference, considering how successful it has been. Then maybe the Sea View League will move to the Southern and create an opening for us. But that's just my own speculation."
Olympic efforts: Orange County schools fared well in the recent selection of the 1-A Olympic League all-league football team. Five players from the county made first team offense and two more made first team defense.
The first team players from the county included:
From Orange Lutheran, quarterback Lmanyeo Scott, offensive lineman David Keeney, defensive lineman Jon Hadley, and defensive back Leon Neben. From Southern California Christian, running back Lou Simon and offensive lineman Bob Breen. From Capistrano Valley Christian, wide receiver Keith Patefield.
Second team all-league selections included:
From Orange Lutheran, Gregg Bratcher, John Morris, Matt Zaun, and Mike Amling. From Capistrano Valley Christian, Todd Rodarmel and Myles Van Pelt. From Southern California Christian, Chad Lambie and Edmond DeAvila.
Fashion note: The Cerritos High School basketball team sports gold, black and red short-sleeved jerseys this season, making the Dons look more like the company softball team of a beer distributorship than a traditional basketball squad.
Looks may be deceiving, however. The Dons beat La Mirada, 57-44, for third place in the Fullerton Tournament on Friday.
Add hoops, or, another brick in the wall dept.: There was an interesting game-within-a-game in the final of the Fullerton Tournament between host Fullerton and Valencia.
The old Fullerton gym is such that one basket has a wall behind it and the other has bleachers. Following a free throw attempt by a Valencia player at the basket with the wall behind it, Valencia coach Ray Rodriguez pulled his team off the floor and wouldn't return them until the Fullerton cheerleaders were removed.
The cheerleaders had been slapping the wall, hooting, and hollering in order to distract the Valencia free throwers, so Rodriguez argued to the referees that they were all but on the playing surface.
Rodriguez won the battle but lost the war. The Fullerton cheerleaders were sent packing to the other, more spacious end of the gym.
Fullerton won the game and the tournament championship, however, 45-44.
Gym dandy: The upcoming Estancia Christmas tournament will give the Eagles a chance to show off their new gym floor, recently renovated and repainted at a cost of $20,000.
"Nothing had been done with the gym since the school opened in 1965," Estancia coach Joe Reid said. "It really needed the work. Now it looks like something you'd see at the University of Kentucky or someplace."
The Anaheim High School basketball team, which finished third in last week's Arroyo Grande Tournament to improve its record to 5-2, already has surpassed its win total from 1984-85, when the Colonists went 4-17. . . .Augie Garrido, who has led Cal State Fullerton to two NCAA baseball titles, heads the list of speakers scheduled for the fifth Orange County Baseball Coaches Clinic on Saturday, Feb. 8, at Grand Slam USA in Anaheim. Other speakers include Angels pitching coach Marcel Lachemann, Dodgers' minor league hitting instructor Ben Himes, and former Southern California College Coach Dennis Rogers. The clinic, which begins at 8 a.m., is free to all area coaches and their assistants. . . . Rick Brooks of Woodbridge and Terry Johnson of Katella will compete in the Sunkist Invitational indoor track meet on Jan. 17 in the Los Angeles Sports Arena. . . . Applications are being accepted for the head football coaching position at Lompoc High. Interested parties should contact principal Bob Paisola at (805) 736-2371.