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THE PREPS : Coombs Quits Santa Ana for Job at Century High : Coach Leaves After Eight Years to Start Basketball Program at New School

Times Staff Writer

Greg Coombs, one of the most successful basketball coaches in Orange County the past eight years at Santa Ana High School, has resigned to assume a similar position at Century High School.

Century High, also located in Santa Ana, is scheduled to open in the fall with 1,000 freshmen and sophomores. The new school will offer technical training in computers and is expected to attract many top academic students from throughout the Santa Ana Unified School District.

“It’s such an opportunity for me in all aspects of education that I wanted to be a part of the new school,” Coombs said. “How many chances do you get to open a new high school?”

Coombs, 32, became the youngest coach in the county when he was named coach at Santa Ana as a 24-year-old, after being an assistant at Sunny Hills. He compiled a 153-52 record at Santa Ana, winning four Century League titles and finishing second in the league three times.

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Santa Ana qualified for the playoffs seven times in eight years, missing the playoffs only in Coombs’ first season. The Saints’ best season was 1987 when they advanced to the Southern Section 4-A semifinals and finished with a 26-4 record.

This year, Santa Ana finished 19-8 despite no returning starters and with eight of its top 10 players underclassmen. Santa Ana has eight returning varsity players next season.

“I hate leaving Santa Ana because that’s the nicest group of players you could ever find,” Coombs said. “I told the players today that change is inevitable in your life and that this was a great opportunity for me.”

Coombs will teach physical education and health science at Century. He said he will announce his assistant next month.

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Century High’s gymnasium will be among the best facilities in the county with three full courts. The gym will feature two levels--similar to Cypress College’s--with parking on the roof.

Century will play a free-lance schedule next year and then join a league the following season. The school’s first senior class will graduate in 1992.


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