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Gaels prepare for a coaching transition

GLENDALE — Changes are blowing in the wind at Holy Family High.

Over the past several years, the Gaels’ athletic program has experienced a spurt of development, most notably in its varsity volleyball and basketball teams.

Two of the primary directors of that upswing, however, are resigning their respective coaching roles this year, setting off a period of transition for the small parochial school.

Volleyball Coach Robert Bringas, who just concluded his 10th varsity season, and Coach Victor Diaz, who has been involved with the Gaels’ varsity basketball and softball and junior varsity volleyball programs over the past seven years, have each coached their last games at Holy Family.

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In addition to leaving behind an on-court legacy that includes landmark playoff appearances, Gaels Athletic Director Evan McGrath said both men will be missed as valued members of the Holy Family community.

“They’ve both been really good role models,” McGrath said. “Victor Diaz’s daughter was a student at our school, so obviously he really bought into all of our values and everything we do here.

“Robert Bringas has had such an extensive career teaching and coaching on the Catholic grade-school level, so many of his [past] students went on to Holy Family. That’s one thing that we’ll miss — it’s always hard to get people from the outside to be teachers and coaches who are part of our value system.”

Over the last two years, Bringas coached the Gaels to a 29-18 record, including second-place finishes in the Horizon League and runs to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division IV-A playoffs in each.

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The first of those playoff appearances included the first playoff win in the history of the volleyball program.

“It was absouluetly a hard decision [to stop coaching at Holy Family],” said Bringas, who co-coached the team with Patricia Tomayo for four years prior to assuming sole head coaching duties in 2001. “We’ve worked so hard to develop a program and now we have a program that’s competitive and people are not just overlooking us.

“My junior class is going to be really stellar next year and that’s what kind of kills me [about leaving]. This group has a shot at doing very, very well for the next three or four years and it’s gonna be a shame that I can’t be a big part of it.”

In addition to continuing his work as an assistant women’s volleyball coach at L.A. Trade Tech College, Bringas intends to focus his attention on pursuing a master’s degree in administration, most likely at Loyola Marymount.

According to McGrath, no replacement has been tabbed yet for Bringas, 33, who said he ultimately plans to be a school principal.

Diaz, who first got involved in coaching at Holy Family because his daughter was a student, has decided to move his family out of the state at the end of the year.

A coach in three sports, Diaz enjoyed the most success as head of the basketball team, which he led to its first-ever postseason win following the 2005-06 season.

“I started getting more and more involved [with the school] when my daughter was there, and it just escalated from there,” Diaz said. “The kids [are what I will miss the most].

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“The highlight, I guess, would be taking the basketball team to the playoffs and winning our first playoff game.”

Replacing Diaz for the upcoming basketball season will be Marlene Sandoval, who also has a deep background with the school.

A Holy Family alumnus and a former Gaels basketball coach, Sandoval, 36, was approached by McGrath over the summer concerning the open position.

“This is my third time coming back to Holy Family coaching,” said Sandoval, who headed the program from 1991-93 and again from 1997-99. “I’m excited to be coming back and taking over the program.”



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