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Marijon Ancich is the winningest high school football coach in California history with a record of 344-123-4, as of the culmination of the 2008 high school football season. He was a two-time All-CCAA selection for football and has gone to have a brilliant coaching career as a high school football coach,being selected into the National High School Hall of Fame in 1999.

Contents

College Years

Ancich attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and was a four-year letterman in football and a two-year letterman in track. In football, he played fullback, linebacker, and defensive back, and was a two-time All-CCAA selection.

Football Coaching Career

Ancich, a 1955 San Pedro High graduate, started as an assistant at St. Paul in 1959, becoming head coach two years later.

In his long career, Ancich's teams won 344 games, three CIF titles in 1968, 1972, and 1981, two California State titles and 19 league championships.

More than 220 Ancich-coached players have played college football and several in the NFL, while nearly 100 of his players have coached high school, collegiate and the NFL, 35 becoming head coaches.

Many of Ancich's former players and assistants have coached in the Southland, including Dick Bruich of Fontana Kaiser HS, Robert Oviedo of Hacienda Heights Wilson HS, Pat Degnan of Quartz Hill HS, Dusan Ancich (son) of Villa Park HS, Anthony Wilson of John Glenn HS, Richard Smith of the Houston Texans, Tim Lins of Moorpark HS, and former Cal State Northridge and Temescal Canyon coach Bob Burt. A "Family Tree" in the St. Paul program lists 116 coaches who either played or coached for Ancich. That number is growing.

The Man

Coach Ancich is known for his unflagging work ethic - beyond coaching for over 45 years, he just retired from his other job. He was a longshoreman for 49 years, a career that was a product of his Slavic heritage and the community of San Pedro. His coaches were told that their free time was between midnight and 6:00 am and that any normal human did not need more than a few hours of sleep each night. His nickname of "Red-Eye" is a testament to this practice coupled with hours of watching film. Players often referred to him as just "The Eye" because he seemed to know what any given player was doing on any given play. He always gives credit to the parents, players, and fellow coaches for his accomplishments - he demanded a great deal of everyone and had the charisma to make everyone believe in what they were trying to do.

In late 2000, Ancich summed up his objective for every player: "To give the young man the opportunity to develop his courage, his loyalty, his poise, the proper weighing of values and the proper control of his emotions in adversity, and in accomplishment."

The Glory Years

After St. Paul capped a perfect 1981 season with a 30-9 victory over Colton in the AAAAA final, he accepted a job as offensive coordinator at Northern Arizona. But he soon grew weary of the college game and returned to Southern California after one year, helping out at Cerritos College for a season before becoming the coach at Tustin High School in 1984. He returned to St. Paul in 1993 after turning down an offer as an assistant coach with the Houston Oilers. He stepped down after the 2005 season having set the California State Record for career victories at 344. After retiring from St. Paul, he joined the staff at Cerritos Community College as assistant to long time friend and junior college coaching legend Frank Mazzotta. He returned to the high school ranks two years later, joining the Villa Park HS staff where his son Dusan is the Head Coach.

Tustin High

Tustin was 3-17 in the two seasons before his arrival. Under Ancich, the Tillers won four league titles and reached the playoffs seven times. They reached the CIF championship game for two consecutive seasons (1990 and 1991). The two year combined record was 25-3. Tustin did not win in either year. In 1990, Aaron Gutridge had his jersey retired (#50) after being named the CIF defensive player of the year.

Championship Games

1968: St. Paul faced El Rancho in the 4A finale in 1968. El Rancho was held to a 20-20 tie by upstart St. Paul, coached by a young man named Marijon Ancich. That game, also played at the Coliseum, put the St. Paul football program on the map. CIF rules at the time did not permit an overtime period, and the Dons and Swordsmen went into the record books as co-4A champions.

1972: St. Paul, which had lost to Bishop Amat 19-6 in a hotly contested game in 1971, came back in 1972 to return the favor and went all the way to the 4A title game. St. Paul beat Western 29-24 at the Coliseum for Ancich's first undisputed championship.

1975: St. Paul returned to the 4A title game at the Coliseum in 1975 - its third title-game appearance in eight years - but the Swordsmen lost a 14-13 heartbreaker to Loyola on a missed extra-point late in the 4th quarter.

1981: The Swordsmen won the title in 1981 with a 30-9 victory over Colton in front of more than 30,000 at Anaheim Stadium. The team goes 14-0.

1990: Ancich gets Tustin High School into the championship game for Div. VI, bringing in a record of 13-0. This is the first time since 1933 that the Tillers have reached Game 14. They lost to Sunny Hills 7-3, giving Coach Devaney his 100th victory in front of 11,000 at Orange Coast College. An unprecedented 7 players receive First Team All-CIF awards.

1991: The Tillers reach the championship game for the second straight year, after returning only 2 starters from the previous season. They lose again, this time to Coach Marrujo's Valencia Tigers.

1998: In the Southern Section Division III championship game, Hart High School intercepted a pass on their own five-yard line with 21 seconds left to preserve a 17-14 victory against St. Paul. Hart was led by eventual Cal Berkeley and NFL quarterback Kyle Boller.

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