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most successful coach  
By cowboysjiu on Aug 08, 2014 02:25 AM
most successful Carlos Hyde Womens Jersey coach in California high school sports

LONG BEACH >> The year was 1958, and there was a track meet taking place on the dusty oval circuit at Long Beach Poly. There were hundreds of fans in the stands cheering on several All American talents, with local greats like Dee Andrews and Willie Brown blazing past the competition.

But the screaming fans weren the only spectators: Beyond the far side of the track, peeking through the branches of a mulberry bush, was Jimmie Ward Womens Jersey Roosevelt Elementary School student Don Norford, who had hopped the fence to watch his heroes slay the competition.

He has, in fact, become much more than just a part of it. Norford would run for Poly, graduate in 1964, and then return to make his mark on his alma mater. After 38 years of coaching with the Jackrabbits, Norford, 68, says he will retire after this track season, making him the third prominent Poly coach to step down this school year.

Norford leaves behind an unprecedented record of success.

As head track coach, Norford won 24 CIF Southern Section championships and 18 California State championships, both records. Norford 18 state titles are more than any other high school in California can claim. He also been an assistant coach on 10 of the Jackrabbits 19 CIF football titles and tutored more high school gridiron players who went pro than any other prep coach in the sport history.

Simply put, Norford is the most successful high school coach California has ever seen.

Asked to compare other coaches success to Norford Cal Hi Sports Editor (and California preps historian) Mark Tennis can are close, he 49ersofficialnflauthentic.com/authentic-carlos-hyde-jersey.html says.

He points out that Disney is making a movie about cross country coach Jim White, who won nine state titles and who being played by Kevin Costner.

is going to play Norford in his movie? Tennis asks. as much of a legend as anybody. gridiron great

Norford began coaching Pop Warner football in Long Beach in the early 1970s and in 1976 was hired on campus at Poly as an assistant coach to Gene Noji. Over the past 38 years, he has been a position coach for every different grouping on the field and has seen 45 former Jackrabbits move on to the NFL. His reputation for speed training brought non Poly pros like Jason Taylor and TJ Housmanzadeh to the Jackrabbits campus.

In 1996, the NFL honored Norford by naming him their High School Coach of the Year. It was an overwhelming experience for the coach. Norford and his wife, Carol, are famously humble: They bought a house on Easy Avenue less than 3 miles from Poly in 1975, and Norford still lives there to this day (Carol died in 2003).

were sitting down at the banquet, and it was gold everything. Gold plate, gold cups, everything, recalls Norford. Norford cashed it and immediately donated the funds to the school.

Mark Carrier, the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1990 and currently a coach with the Cincinnati 49ersofficialnflauthentic.com/authentic-jimmie-ward-jersey.html Bengals, said in an interview for a documentary about Norford, owe that man a lot. Don came into my life right when I needed it. He was a father figure and he was a disciplinarian. He taught me how to succeed. McGinest, a three time Super Bowl champ with the Patriots, adds: really taught me how to play taught me how to be relentless on the field and never stop working. He never take the credit, though. He was hired as the head coach of both boys and girls track teams in 1989. At that point, the Jackrabbits had only won one Moore League title in the previous eight years and hadn won the league with the girls team in seven tries.

It was important to Norford for his teams to travel and gain exposure, but in that first year, he was learning as much as they were.

had an invitational in Oakland, and it was wild, he remembers. just piled all into three old vans, stayed at this seedy hotel. It was a crack up. year, the Jackrabbits are a little more experienced at traversing the country. They have a travel agent, and just a few weeks ago they won their fourth straight national championship in the 4x100 relay at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia.

In the intervening 25 years, the Jackrabbits have rewritten the history books in California. The Poly girls track team has won 13 state titles, more than the second , third and fourth best teams in state history combined (Berkeley High has the second most with five).

Poly holds the national records in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, and Poly runners have been crowned world champions so many times at the Penn Relays that there are a few Penn Wheels most coveted prize in high school track are still in their original boxes in a storage closet at Poly.

What really sets Norford apart, however, isn just his success that he really doesn care about the awards or trophies.

Don years ago, someone broke into the Norfords house on Easy Avenue and stole several of his CIF rings. A friend offered to help replace them, but Norford brushed the offer aside. not why we doing this, he says.

It difficult not to discuss hardware when summing up Norford career, but it isn what he wants to talk about. most important thing to me, the only important thing to me, is my relationship with the kids, he says. love to win, but if you aren helping the kids, what does a championship mean? Jaso coached on the Poly football team with Norford for two decades, and as head coach from 1985 2000 got to see how valuable Don and Carol personal touch was.

was everybody father, and so many guys needed that, says Jaso. a stabilizing force, and a factor in a lot of people lives. The guys used to go to his house back in the old days, and Carol would feed them.

fed everybody in the whole neighborhood, he says. I come home, and she was feeding people I didn even know. the impact went well beyond full stomachs. Crystal Irving, Norford assistant head coach for the last several years at Poly, ran for Poly under Norford.
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