Augustine (Augie) Escamilla, whose voice was heard at major track meets in San Diego for more than 30 years and who was a respected educator and coach for five decades, passed away on May 1 at age 90. A service will be held at Greenwood Mortuary on May 21.
Virtually every outstanding San Diego High or Lincoln athlete in the 1940s and ‘fifties came under the guidance of coach Escamilla, who served 14 years in administrative capacities at the Boys’ Club of San Diego and at Memorial Junior High in Logan Heights.
Augie also was a counselor at junior and senior high schools for the San Diego City Schools’ Health Department for 10 years and was an academic counselor for 21 years at San Diego City College.
Escamilla was well known for his calls at the annual San Diego Section track championships. When an outstanding performance took place on the field, you could depend on Augie to begin an announcement, “Listen to this one, ladies and gentlemen!…”
He also usually informed the crowd that “Your announcer had the pleasure last night of attending the Southern Section finals at Cerritos College….”
The Southern Section championships on Friday night preceded the next afternoon’s San Diego Section meet.
Escamilla was born in the Mexican state of Jalisco. His father immigrated to New Mexico in search of employment, then was followed by Augie, age 6; his mother and two sisters in 1929. The family eventually settled in Fillmore in Ventura County.
A FUTURE AZTEC
Augie ran track at Fillmore High and was a student leader in the class of 1940. His senior class advisor and one of the school’s track coaches saw promise and contacted C.E. Peterson, San Diego State’s legendary coach, who invited Escamilla to attend the school and turn out for track.
Augie was a distance runner who never stopped running. He still was competing in his fifties. Escamilla was running the mile in under five minutes on the Masters track circuit, which was popular in the 1960s and ‘seventies.