Dale Coogan, superintendent of the Ocean View Elementary School District since 1975, died Wednesday morning of cancer at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo.
Coogan, 58, had been diagnosed with the illness in December and had been on leave for the last 5 weeks.
“This is a real sad day,” said his administrative assistant, Gayle Wayne. “There are a lot of tears around here.”
A memorial service for Coogan is pending, Wayne said.
Before becoming a teacher and then a school administrator, Coogan played professional baseball for the Hollywood Stars and the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1948 to 1959. He was a first baseman for the Pirates and in the off-seasons attended college classes.
He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Cal State Long Beach and his doctorate at USC.
Coogan worked as a teacher in the Torrance Unified School District, later becoming a principal there. He was deputy superintendent with the Fountain Valley Elementary School District in the late 1960s before becoming superintendent at the San Jacinto Unified School District.
During Coogan’s leave of absence, Monte McMurray, assistant superintendent for business services, has been acting superintendent.
“This district is deeply saddened by the death of Dr. Coogan,” district officials said in a statement.
Coogan “was well-known for his quiet and competent leadership, his love of children, his wonderful sense of humor and his commitment to our schools,” the statement said. “We will miss him very much.”
Coogan is survived by his wife, Betty, an administrator at the Norwalk-La Mirada School District; three daughters; a stepson, and five grandchildren.
The Ocean View district, which covers the northern half of Huntington Beach, has 18 schools and 8,500 students.