Steve Conti, one of the most successful high school boys’ volleyball coaches in California, stepped down from Corona del Mar on Thursday, said Don Grable, the school’s athletic director.
Conti led the program for 23 seasons, winning 540 matches, 19 league titles and seven CIF Southern Section titles. The Sea Kings reached the section final 14 times under Conti.
“He just needs a break,” Grable said of the 52-year-old Conti, who will continue to teach physical education and coach the surf team at the school. “[For] 23 years, he’s been the guy. That’s a lot of … coaching … CdM boys’ volleyball in the spotlight. Sometimes that just gets tiring. I think he just wants to step back while he’s still young enough to totally enjoy his family and actually do some things for himself. He’s so selfless. For 23 years, he’s always put the kids in volleyball … ahead of himself.”
“The accomplishments of his teams are incredible,” Grable added. “He’s obviously unbelievable at making better volleyball players, but he’s truly better at making better people.”
In Conti’s last season, the Sea Kings went 34-4 and won the Pacific Coast League championship, the CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship and the CIF State Southern California Regional Division I championship.
Grable said the search for Conti’s replacement will begin immediately.
“Our first priority is always to try to have an on-campus coach, if they’re qualified and interested,” said Grable, adding that the school will look to interview someone from CdM before opening the position to the public next week.