CORONA DEL MAR — Taped on the wall outside of the Little Theater at Corona del Mar High on Thursday was a poster with the words "Mr. Sea King" and the date "April 6th."
Seven days before the event, CdM welcomed its Mr. Sea King in football.
Dressed in a suit, Scott Meyer introduced himself as the Sea Kings' next head football coach in front of his future players. None knew who he was, only the administrators in the building.
During lunch, players filled the first five rows in the theater; almost 80 in all made it in. They listened to Meyer give some background — where he has coached in high school, mostly in Long Beach, and where he played college football, Arizona.
Meyer then praised the CdM program, the old coaching staff, the players, and he brought up the school's Back Bay rival. His roots are in Long Beach, but Meyer appears to understand how intense the Battle of the Bay is with Newport Harbor.
"On my way over here, I had a little extra time," Meyer said to the players. "I drove across the bay, and I cruised in my little car right by Newport Harbor High. I looked out my window and nodded to myself and said, '[In] 174 days, they're going to get 48 minutes of flurry and the stingiest defense. That gap [between CdM and Newport Harbor] has narrowed.'
"I watched the [CdM] game against [the Sailors last season online] on iBN [Sports], the announcers talking about how historically Newport Harbor has dominated [the rivalry]. That is over. Put that in your mind. That stuff is over. We're going to get after those guys."
On his first day as coach, the 46-year-old Meyer fired up some hungry teenagers. And they were hungry all right, and Meyer said he did not want to take away too much of their lunchtime.
He took some questions from the players before leading the team break.
"Loud and proud now. Loud and proud," Meyer said as the players gathered. "Champions on three. Champions on three."
The coach and the players erupted together with, "One! Two! Three! Champions!"
The Sea Kings have come close in two of the last three years of playing for a CIF Southern Section Southern Division title, most recently this past December.
Under its former coach, Jason Hitchens, who stepped down in January to spend more time with his family, CdM reached the semifinals twice. Hitchens, who posted a 24-11-1 overall record and two 10-win seasons in three years, fell short of getting CdM to the title game each time.
The Sea Kings last made it to a section finale in 1989, when they won the second of two straight titles.
Meyer told the Sea Kings they are going to make a run at Pacific Coast League and section crowns every year. Last season, the Sea Kings placed first at 4-0-1, resulting in the program's first outright league title in 22 years.
Those are lofty expectations from Meyer, who has never led a team to a league title and has only led one team to the postseason as the man in charge.
In six seasons at Long Beach's Jordan High School, Meyer's best season was in 2008. He turned the struggling Panthers into a competitive team, guiding them to a record of 7-4, 4-2, a share of second place in the Moore League, and the Pac-5 Division playoffs. Many consider the playoff division to be the toughest in the state and the league has Long Beach Poly, one of the most storied programs in the country.
Meyer will no longer have to deal with the Jackrabbits or his former schools, which include Lakewood, where he was an assistant for four years. That bodes well for Meyer's record, which was 21-39-1 overall and 11-25 in league while at Long Beach Jordan, his first varsity head coaching stint.
CdM is Meyer's second one at the helm of a program. He came from his alma mater, Long Beach Wilson, where he served as the defensive coordinator last season and helped the Bruins reach the Pac-5 Division playoffs. Meyer said he left Long Beach Jordan two years ago because his son, Nick, was a freshman at Long Beach Wilson and played football in 2010.
Meyer said he does not plan for Nick to transfer to CdM. As for Meyer, a social studies teacher at Long Beach Jordan, he said he prefers to move to CdM to teach.
Tim Bryan, the principal at CdM, said the school has no current teaching vacancies.
"There [are] a couple of [teachers] that have mentioned that they might be retiring [at the end of the school year]," Bryan said.
"It's in the school's and my best interest to [offer Meyer a teaching job] as soon as possible, but I don't have a date [when that will happen]."
For now, Meyer is a walk-on coach, who will commute to CdM from Long Beach.
"Right now, he's a heck of a coach and a heck of a person," said Don Grable, the school's athletic director, "and we hope that soon he'll be a heck of a teacher as well."