Darryl Gan at first was hesitant about publicizing that his wife was three months pregnant.
"My wife would kill me!" Gan said back in October, five weeks into his third season as the Corona del Mar High girls' volleyball coach.
A month later, in the Sea Kings' final match of the season, Gan was more than happy to let the public know that his wife was having a boy.
Gan knew all along the match in the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Division I-A playoffs would be his last one as CdM's leader. Few knew of Gan's decision to leave the program after he fell short of guiding CdM to a third straight section final appearance.
Gan on Thursday informed his players that he is stepping down because of family. After being there for the Sea Kings the past three seasons, Gan now has to take care of his wife and the child they are expecting in April.
"I met with the program and I just told them I've enjoyed my time with them and I look forward to watching them in the future," said Gan, a Newport Harbor graduate. "I'm going to miss the girls and the administration."
Don Grable, CdM's athletic director, said the Sea Kings will surely miss Gan. He understood why Gan, 42, resigned and applauded him for putting family first.
Grable said there was more to Gan than the success he achieved on the court in a short period of time at CdM, three Pacific Coast League titles, two section runner-up finishes, two CIF State Division II Regional playoff appearances, and a 73-23 record.
"Ideally, I would love to see Darryl back with us and helping us because he's so great with people," said Grable, adding that Gan's long commute to CdM from his home in Redondo Beach also factored into Gan's decision to leave CdM. "His important thing has to be his family. It's very difficult to do that and run a top-five program. He wasn't sure he could make a commitment to coaching [on the high school level].
"He owes it to his wife and his baby. Hopefully, we'll find someone as dedicated as he was to the program."
Gan said he assured the girls that Grable and the school would hire a great coach.
Gan said he would continue to coach on the club level for Southern California Volleyball Club in Fountain Valley. Instead of being in Orange County practically every day because of high school practices and matches, Gan said he would only be in the area three times during the week.
One possible candidate to replace Gan is Steve Conti, the successful boys' volleyball coach at CdM. Conti joined Gan's staff as an assistant this season after he transferred as a middle school physical education teacher to CdM from Ensign Intermediate School.
Conti has been the head coach of the girls' program before at CdM. In his first season at the helm in 1997, he led the Sea Kings to a section crown in Division III-AA.
"I've talked to Steve about it," Grable said. "He might be an applicant. I would love for Steve to apply for it. We're in no great rush [to hire someone]. We want to find the right fit, someone who is genuine and a skilled volleyball coach.
"[Conti's] also got a family with young kids. He's very dedicated with the boys' volleyball program. He's very busy. It takes a special person to make that double commitment year round, like Dan Glenn at Newport Harbor."