Miguel Segura leaves Bell-Jeff for St. Genevieve

BURBANK — Miguel Segura was a fixture on the sideline of the Bellarmine-Jefferson High volleyball programs for more than a decade.

During his tenure, he helped develop a number of all-league and All-CIF Southern Section athletes, his girls' team won seven straight league championships and advanced to the Division IV-A title game in 2009 and his boys' squad made it to the CIF quarterfinals in 2007.

However, after heading the boys' program for 11 years and the girls for nine, Segura — a 1996 Bell-Jeff graduate — had stepped down to take over the volleyball programs at rival St. Genevieve.

"It was a hard decision for me to leave Bell-Jeff," said Segura, a former all-league player for the Guards. "It actually took me a good month for me to make my decision. I talked to a lot of my family and friends before I made up my mind. I have a lot of ties to Bell-Jeff, so it was a decision I didn't make easily.

"The opportunity happened to pop up at St. Genevieve and it was an opportunity that's good for me now. It's a new venture for me and I am looking forward to see what I can do at the school."

Segura's biggest accomplishments at Bell-Jeff came with the girls' team, as he built the most successful girls' program in the city; Segura made the Guards perennial Santa Cruz League champions and made Bell-Jeff a force in the playoffs.

During nine seasons, his girls' teams went 113-83-3, and in addition to seven league crowns, the Guards qualified for the playoffs seven of the nine years.

"I'm extremely proud of the success that we were able to have," Segura said. "The alumni really helped and were there for me. But I was lucky to have some very good players during my time at Bell-Jeff. And what's nice is that a lot of players still keep in touch or stop by to say hi."

Last season, behind senior outside hitter Taryn Nelson, Bell-Jeff went 17-10-1 and captured its seventh consecutive Santa Cruz League championship. It also ran its league unbeaten streak to 52. The Guards haven't lost a league match since 2006.

In addition, the Guards advanced to the CIF Division IV-A quarterfinal round of the playoffs for the fifth straight year.

Segura's most successful season came in 2009 with his girls' team. Paced by sophomore outside hitter Jocelyn Cervantes, the Guards (19-9) advanced to the program's first-ever CIF Southern Section championship. Unfortunately, they fell in the Division IV-A title match to No. 1-seeded Upland Christian Academy, 25-22, 25-23, 25-23.

Prior to the final, the Guards breezed through the postseason, surrendering just one game. Along with early sweeps against Duarte and Santa Clara, they only had to go to four games to beat Twentynine Palms in the quarterfinals and earned a sweep against Desert Hot Springs in the semifinals.

"That was an accomplishment that those girls on that team will always have," Segura said. "I've already talked to my St. Gen's girls about that. The greatest feeling that I ever had as a coach was walking out on that court, knowing we were going to play for a CIF championship."

The Bell-Jeff boys' team also made history under Segura in 2007. Behind Ramy Garsdean, Bell-Jeff (19-8), advanced to the CIF quarterfinals for the first time in school history. Unfortunately, it fell to eventual champion Viewpoint, 25-21, 25-15, 25-14. Viewpoint didn't drop a game in the playoffs.

In the early rounds of the playoffs that season, Bell-Jeff notched wins against Pasadena Poly, 23-25, 25-22, 27-29, 25-14, 15-11, and host St. Margaret's 16-25, 25-22, 20-25, 25-21, 15-13.

"That was a fun year for the guys," Segura said. "I look back on that as one of the great memories I've had at Bell-Jeff. I hope I came have some of those at St. Gen's."

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