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Contreras Resigns as Westlake Football Coach

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

George Contreras, Westlake High’s first and only football coach, announced his resignation Thursday, saying he had decided during the summer to make his 11th season with the Warriors his last.

Contreras, who leaves with a 58-57 record, said that this season’s 2-8 record was not a factor in his decision. Rather, a desire to follow his sons’ high school careers overrode his interest in coaching. Andy Contreras played quarterback on the Rio Mesa freshman team this fall and a second son, Mike, a seventh-grader, is also an athlete.

“By no means am I burned out in coaching,” Contreras, 41, said. “I guess it’s that old family-considerations thing. I saw the majority of my son’s games this year because the freshmen play on Thursdays, but next year there would be a conflict with his games if I stayed in coaching.

“Raising a kid is a once-in-a-lifetime thing and I want to be there to give him my support. I used to see all those parents along the sidelines videotaping their sons’ games, and now they’re going to have to chase me off the sidelines.”

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Coincidentally, Rio Mesa Coach John Reardon is considering retiring as the Spartans’ coach. Contreras, who has not ruled out a return to coaching, said that he hopes Reardon decides to stay.

“John stands for good, positive values and I like his methods. He’s the kind of coach I want my sons to play for,” Contreras said. “Besides, I’m not sure my sons want to play for me. We’d have to sit down and talk about that.”

Contreras began his coaching career 19 seasons ago as an assistant at Thousand Oaks and was Westlake’s head coach for the school’s first game in 1978. Playing with no senior class, the Warriors went 1-8. A year later, they won the Frontier League title with a 9-3 record, the first of 3 league titles for Westlake. The Warriors were Marmonte League champions in 1980 and ’82, the last time Westlake qualified for the playoffs.

Despite this season’s losing record, Contreras went out a winner: Westlake upset Camarillo in the last week of the regular season, 30-10.

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“I knew I was 57-57 going into that game and I wanted to be able to tell people afterward that I was a winning coach and not have to lie,” he said. “When I told the players after Wednesday’s weight training that I was resigning, I got pretty emotional, especially when I thought of that game.”

Contreras pointed to last season’s 7-6 win over Thousand Oaks, the Lancers’ only loss in 1987, as the highlight of his career.

“For just one moment, that game was it,” he said. “It was the biggest crowd we ever had, and, for whatever reason, the whole student body pulled together the week before that game. It took a miracle pass from Bobby Grandpre to Keith Burke, but we just knew going into that game that we were going to win.”

No replacement has been named for Contreras, who endorses assistant Dan Murphy as his successor. Murphy also has been at Westlake since the school opened.

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