2013-14: Alma Maters Beckoned Coaches

How uncommon is this?

When Kearny (23-2) meets Sweetwater (28-0) Friday afternoon the teams will be coached by alumni of their respective schools.

At stake will be the San Diego Section Division IV championship.

Historian Greg (Stats) Durrant came up with this and other nuggets as the veteran prep sports maven prepared to take in five boys’ and girls’ division finals Friday and five more Saturday at the Jenny Craig Pavilion on the University of San Diego campus.

Sweetwater is coached by Jesse Aguirre, class of 1985,  Kearny by Carl Bronson, class of 1983.

Both schools returned to prominence this year.


Kearny is making its first appearance in the finals since a 73-55 loss to Ramona in 1991.

The Komets’ heyday was in  the 1970s, when they won three championships, topped by the 32-0, 1973-74 club that featured a fiery, longhaired Alan Trammel, destined to become a legendary shortstop for the Detroit Tigers.

Kearny defeated Sweetwater, 57-50, in 1979 in the Red Devils’ next-to-last appearance in the finals.

Sweetwater edged Mt. Carmel, 78-71, for the division championship in 1990 and made six other appearances, going 0-6 between 1991 and 2013.


As home team for its semifinal Open Division contest against Torrey Pines, the St. Augustine Saints were faced with a problem.

Dougherty Gymnasium, built in 1952 on the Nutmeg Avenue campus was too small for playoff competition, according to CIF rule.

The gym was constructed with about 600 seats, more than enough for a student body about half that size in 1952.

Saints athletic director Mike Stephenson negotiated for the  University City facility.

The Centurions’ gym seats around 1,500 and more than 200 were turned away Wednesday night before the  Saints (28-2) pulled out a 49-45 victory over  Torrey Pines (26-5).

Larger venues probably were available, but U. City is in the same league as St. Augustine and the Saints were familiar with the layout.

Where the game was played may not have helped the winners but certainly didn’t hurt.


San Marcos (21-8) faces surprising, No. 12 seed Morse, a D-I finalist for the first time since 1988.

The Tigers (17-12), coached by 1984 graduate Bob Sumler, are making their first appearance in the finals since a 67-62 loss to Santana 26 years ago.

Morse defeated Monte Vista, 59-51, for the 1987 title.

Other matchups include Mater Dei (27-2) against Francis Parker (25-4) in D-II and Orange Glen (25-5) and Tri-City Christian (21-8) in D-IV.


San Marcos 70, Morse 60.                                                                                                                 Mater Dei 65, Francis Parker 59.                                                                                          Sweetwater 76, Kearny 66.                                                                                                             Orange Glen 56, Tri-City Christian 50.

Game of the week will be Saturday night, when St. Augustine meets La Costa Canyon (26-5) for the Open championship.

La Costa’s semifinal battle at El Camino (27-4) included a bizarre twist when the lights went out for 23 minutes.

The Mavericks came from seven behind in the final two minutes to force an overtime.

Semi-darkness set in with 31.5 seconds left in the extra session and El Camino leading 61-60.

La Costa’s Tommy McCarthy hit two free throws after play resumed and the Mavericks rode out three missed three attempts by the Wildcats.

St. Augustine defeated the Mavericks, 79-74, six weeks ago.

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2 Responses to 2013-14: Alma Maters Beckoned Coaches

  1. Allen Brown says:

    The Kearny Alan Trammel/Mark Hogland team of the 70s was coached by Tim Short, who was an exceptional athlete in his own right. He was one of only two “White Sweater Lettermen” in the history of San Jacinto High School and excelled in four sports at California Western University on Point Loma, graduating in 1965.

    • Rick says:

      RIP, Tim Short, a fine coach and obviously outstanding athlete. I saw Mark Hoagland at Birt Slater’s Memorial last fall. It reminded me of a story told to me by Don Norcross, who quarterbacked Kearny when it was undefeated in 1974 and when Hoagland was a tight end. On the point following a touchdown, Norcross passed to Hoagland…far over the receiver’s head. Norcross tried to avoid the coach as Norcross made his way back to the bench, but Slater came onto the field and confronted his quarterback: “He’s 6 feet 8, Norcross. How bleeping tall do you want him?” By the way, Allen, I received an email from one of your Ramona High teammates, Mike Smith.

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