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Ramirez, 72, Will Step Aside at Birmingham

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Lou Ramirez, athletic director at Birmingham High since 1955, said he plans to retire on Aug. 14.

“It’s time for young people to take over,” he said.

Ramirez, 72, has seen every varsity football game ever played at the Van Nuys campus.

Through his organization and hard work, Ramirez helped Birmingham develop some of the best sports facilities in the region.

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In 1964, Birmingham built its 11,000-seat stadium, still the largest high school stadium in the Valley. In 1984, Birmingham was given an all-weather track as part of money from the Los Angeles Olympic Games.

Next year, Birmingham’s baseball field, which is named after Ramirez, is scheduled to become the first City Section diamond in the Valley to have lights.

“It’s going to take five people to replace him,” football Coach Dave Lertzman said.

Ramirez, who graduated from Hollywood High in 1944, came to Birmingham as a teacher in 1954. The next year, he became athletic director.

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He was the sponsor for student government, cheerleaders, letterman’s club, knights and ladies’ club and history club.

For 44 years, he has been the most familiar face on campus. Thousands of Birmingham students have come in contact with him, whether through sports or having him as a teacher in government.

“I’m going to miss the kids--that’s why we all go into teaching,” he said.

Ramirez is particularly pleased that his lobbying for Birmingham to acquire lights for the baseball field will finally come to fruition.

“This is going to be a chance not just for Birmingham but all high school teams in the Valley to play under the lights,” he said.

Ramirez was one of the most vocal supporters of keeping Birmingham’s nickname, the Braves. But this year, Birmingham will become the Patriots.

“I was certainly going to leave as a Brave,” he joked.

Ramirez plans to spend more time with his wife of 46 years, Joan, while also rooting for his next favorite team, the USC Trojans.

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Rick Prizant, assistant athletic director, is expected to replace Ramirez.


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