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There are coaches and then there are teachers. Ed Larios has been a teacher for going on his seventh decade. He retired from the classroom in 2012, but since 1969 to the present, he has taught hundreds — if not thousands — of high school athletes how to play as both a head coach and an assistant. He has spent the last seven seasons as an assistant football coach at Sacred Heart Prep and last week, he was informed by the California Coaches Association that he was chosen as the state’s Assistant Coach of the Year.

“I knew that I would be a football coach and that would be my main goal,” said Larios, 73, who got his first coaching job in 1969 as an assistant football coach at Jefferson, a year after playing one season in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons.

“But I never thought I would just be a football coach. I knew I would be A coach.”

Whether in the classroom or on the field, that is exactly what Larios has been and his coaching career is a list of schools and teams. He started his coaching and teaching career at his alma mater. He went on to become head football coach at Oceana (1971-1973) and Burlingame (1997-1998). He also served as head coach for: frosh-soph baseball, frosh-soph girls’ basketball, track and field and golf. He has also been an assistant for several of those sports as well.

“In the days I got hired, if you were a PE teacher or a coach, you coached three sports,” Larios said. “I never thought I would never not be coaching three sports.”

In a day and age when players and even some coaches continue to specialize, Larios is a throwback which goes back to his days as a high school athlete, when he played football, basketball, wrestled and was on the track and field team, all of which helped lay the foundation for his coaching career. During his career at San Francisco State, he was already preparing to be a multi-sport coach.

“When I went through college at State, all our classes, after [core classes], were teaching methods for various sports,” Larios said. “The method for coaching is all the same, (the only difference is) just the knowledge of each sport.”

Even though Larios has retired from classroom teaching, he still pours as much energy into his coaching job as he did before. Now, he’s not always scrambling to do it.

“Right now, I’m breaking down film of our opponents for next season,” Larios said. “Now, I don’t have to do it until 3 or 4 in the morning. … It’s a lot less stressful.”

While he still has the same passion for coaching, his emotions are a lot more balanced. He knows today’s players are not the same as his generation, so he has adjusted his coaching style. Plus, he realizes there is no need to get upset at a player for making a mistake. He puts the onus on himself to teach the player better.

“I was always taught, if a kid is making a mistake, before you correct him, correct you,” Larios said. “It’s like in the classroom. It’s not their fault they didn’t learn it. It was my fault for not teaching it right.”

Larios told a story about his time as the head football coach at Burlingame and his team suffered a tough loss. He was taking the defeat hard and he headed across the street to a local convenience store, only to see several members of the team laughing and joking around.

“I decided then that I’m never going to let what kids do (during a game) ruin my life,” Larios said.

As he prepares for his 51st season of coaching, does he have any exit plans?

“It’s not like I’m carrying bricks,” Larios said. “About four years ago, I had a kid come up to me and say, ‘My grandfather played for you.’ When I’m out and about and people in the community call me ‘Coach,’ I wear that as a badge of honor.”

Nathan Mollat can be reached by email: nathan@smdailyjournal.com or by phone: 344-5200 ext. 117.

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