Loara's Hill to Coach One More Season

Times Staff Writer

Herb Hill, the only football coach Loara High School has had, said Wednesday that this would be his final season. The dean of Orange County coaches said he would retire after 28 seasons of long-running success at Loara.

"I've been to the starting post too many times," said Hill, 58.

He will leave behind a legacy in county football coaching circles. Hill's Loara teams won the Southern Section 3-A championship in 1968 and the Southern Conference title in 1979. The Saxons also won 10 league championships, the most recent in 1986.

His record at Loara is 170-97-9, a .616 winning percentage. Only the late Clare VanHoorebeke won more games, with 190 victories in 23 seasons at Anaheim.

Hill's teams finished lower than fourth place only three times in 27 seasons.

For the most part, Hill won without big-name players, which makes his consistency so much more remarkable.

There were two notable expections: Harvey Winn, a quarterback on the 1966 and '67 teams, went on to play at the University of Oregon; Bob Caffrey, quarterback of the 1979 championship team, played football and baseball at Cal State Fullerton and also played minor league baseball.

"I don't think there are any tricks or short cuts," Hill said. "Consistency in what you're doing is important. Kids like consistency. We've had good coaches on the lower levels and they prepared the kids to play varsity football. They had a chance to progress."

With Hill as coach, Loara played a hard-nosed game characterized by stingy defenses and steady, if often unspectacular, offenses. The teams reflected the man--solid and not given to adopting the latest fad.

Hill began coaching at Loara before construction of the school had been completed. In 1962, football practice was held at La Palma Park in Anaheim. The Saxons went 5-1-2 that season and have made their impact on county football ever since.

Hill's county football roots reach back before Loara, though. He played football at Santa Ana High, graduating in 1948.

"In those days there were two leagues--the Orange and Sunset," Hill said. "And they barely had six teams in each."

Hill later played at Santa Ana College (now Rancho Santiago) and Occidental before returning to Orange County to coach.

He began as an assistant at Garden Grove in 1953 and moved into a head coaching position at Rancho Alamitos in 1956. Hill then served as an assistant at Orange Coast College before taking the Loara job.

HILL'S RECORD

Herb Hill's coaching record in his 27 seasons at Loara.

Year Won Lost Tied 1962 5 1 2 1963 4 5 0 1964* 9 2 0 1965* 11 1 0 1966 5 4 0 1967* 8 2 1 1968*+ 13 0 0 1969* 8 1 1 1970 5 3 1 1971 5 4 0 1972 3 6 0 1973 6 3 0 1974 4 5 0 1975 3 6 0 1976* 5 4 1 1977* 6 4 0 1978 3 6 1 1979*++ 12 2 0 1980* 8 3 0 1981 4 6 0 1982 6 5 0 1983 5 5 0 1984 6 5 0 1985 7 3 0 1986* 10 1 1 1987 4 6 0 1988 5 4 1 Total 170 97 9

*--indicates league title

+--3-A title

++--Southern Conference title

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