Coach Hailey to be inducted

At 78, Bob Hailey, a former Newport Harbor High track and field coach, says he cannot get around as good as he used to because of a bad right leg. He lost mobility in that leg 34 years ago, when a drunk driver hit him.

Then 17 years ago, he lost that leg because of another car accident.

While Hailey has endured a lot, one of his former athletes, Brian Theriot, says it's no accident Hailey will be inducted into the CIF Southern Section Hall of Fame on Thursday.

"He had an immense impact on all of us as a coach and teacher," Theriot says.

Hailey says he won't be able to make it to the ceremony at The Grand in Long Beach. Theriot and another of Hailey's former athletes, David Kurrasch, will accept the honor in behalf of Hailey during the luncheon, which starts at 11:30 a.m.

"I couldn't have asked for two better guys," Hailey says. "Brian was the very best I ever had and Dave was the state champion in the shotput. Two great ones."

Theriot and Kurrasch will each speak about Hailey, and how without him, they aren't who they are today.

Hailey coached at Newport Harbor from 1960 to 1979. He led the Sailors to six Sunset League titles and dual-meet winning streaks of 26 and 29.

Theriot and Kurrasch played major roles during those successful times, Theriot running and Kurrasch throwing. They graduated in 1975, the same year Hailey led Newport Harbor to a runner-up finish at the CIF State Championships. Kurrasch took first in the shotput and Theriot second in both the 440-yard dash and as a member of the school's mile relay team.

Kurrasch and Theriot went on to compete at USC and UCLA, respectively. Theriot says they were part of more than 30 Division I athletes Hailey developed at Newport Harbor.

"He built Newport Harbor to be the No. 1 shotput school in the nation, and to this day Newport Harbor's top 10 shotput throws list remains No. 1 in the nation with throwers such as Jim Neidhart, Terry Albritton, Mark Stevens, Dave Kurrasch, and a host of other throwers that are well above the 60-foot barrier," says Theriot, who holds seven school running records at Newport Harbor.

Mike Zimmerman, Newport Harbor's athletic director, says he has never met Hailey. He first heard of him when Theriot and other athletes who competed for Hailey wanted to put up a new track and field record board on campus last year.

"Each person started talking about Coach Hailey and what he meant to them as a great coach, a great teacher and a great mentor," Zimmerman says. "Then the more I heard, it became more obvious that Coach Hailey is the kind of person the CIF looks to honor. We put the application together and got feedback from former athletes of his. He really cared about the athletes and students. It was a total team effort."

When the luncheon ends, Theriot says he and Kurrasch plan to visit Hailey in Costa Mesa, where he still lives with his wife, Doreen.

"We're going to bring the ceremony to Uncle Bob," Theriot says.

Hailey says he'll be waiting for Theriot and Kurrasch with open arms.

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