Jaime Melgoza bleeds olive and gold, the colors of Santa Barbara High. The Dons football coach isn’t shy about expressing his affection for his alma mater, and wants nothing but the best for the school.
So, Melgoza expressed his frustration of not having a working scoreboard for last Friday night’s home opener during his turn at the podium at the first Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon of the 2011-12 school year at Harry’s Plaza Cafe on Monday.
“Santa Barbara High has been around since 1875,” Melgoza began. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful school … it’s unbelievable. I get chills talking about Peabody Stadium. But, as you know, Friday night we didn’t have a scoreboard. That’s kind of tough. You go out there and we don’t have a press box, we don’t have a track, and now a scoreboard. What’s next?
“These kids work so hard, and that school is so beautiful; I just hope we get a couple of changes.”
Melgoza explained he was just looking out for best interest of the school.
“I’m backing up our school, I’m backing up Nan (athletic director Nan Verkaik); we have a great, new principal, (John A.) Becchio. We got a lot of great, great coaches that have been around there.
“I just want to protect the high school, and I think Santa Barbara High deserves a lot more.”
Other luncheon highlights:
—The first luncheon of the new school year stirred up some fond memories for Carpinteria football coach Ben Hallock.
“I remember the first time coming to the Round Table was in 1971, as a 16 year old,” he said. “My dad sat right there. The next time I came back was in 1979, as a 24-year-old coach. My wife was sitting right there with our first child, and that child is now 32 and has been a teacher for 10 years.
“Time goes by in a hurry,” he added. “It’s a great tradition here and a great thing to be part of. Thank you guys for continuing it.”
—UCSB men’s water polo assistant John Abdou said the Gauchos took on the role of “Karma Police” after watching Chapman University roll over Cal Tech 30-6 at the Inland Empire Classic. The Gauchos got payback for the Beavers by beating up Chapman 32-6 and setting a school single-game scoring record.
“We took it upon ourselves to be the Karma Police over the weekend, and we gave the game right back to them,” said Abdou.
—On his young football team that consists of 69 freshman, SBCC coach Craig Moropoulos said there are two things you can expect: “One, you make a lot of mistakes and, two, as the coach, sometimes you complain about it too much. So, I’m gong to stop talking about it.”
The Vaqueros are off to an 0-2 start.
Taking the positive approach, Mororpoulos noted, “Another thing that happens when you’re that young and inexperienced, you get better.
“I’m going to stop talking about how young we are. We’re getting old really fast.”
Moropoulos expressed his appreciation for new athletic director Ryan Byrne.
“We’re in a good shape and in good hands at SBCC with Ryan Byrne,” said the coach.
—Dos Pueblos football coach Jeff Uyesaka echoed Moropoulos view on coaching a young team that’s off to an 0-2 start. “We need to get older really quick.” he said.
Uyesaka threw out an idea that would help Melgoza and his team.
“I got a solution for Santa Barbara. We’ll trade our scoreboard for your weight room, because those guys from the north are huge. We’re struggling in a few areas.”
The Chargers have lost to Righetti and San Luis Obispo. They play host to unbeaten Cabrillo on Friday.
—Westmont men’s soccer coach Dave Wolf said it’s been a challenge dealing with a 0-5 start by his team. But he was encouraged by the Warriors’ play in the last game, a 2-1 loss to McKendree, Ill.
“The past weekend they put in a performance that really lifted my spirits and helped me get on with it,” he said. “Sometimes, as coaches, we’re the ones learning lessons from our athletes, and I’m one of those people right now.”
—San Marcos boys water polo coach Jeff Ashton said the school and the entire education community lost an outstanding teacher with the passing of Jack Phreaner. He taught English at San Marcos for more than 30 years. His grandson, Jason, plays for the Royals.
“Every teacher at school had nothing but kind things and great things to say about him,” said Ashton.
—The Round Table raised $15,000 from its High-Five Golf Tournament, a fundraiser for the athletic departments of the five local high schools. Checks of $3,000 were presented to athletic directors Nan Verkaik (Santa Barbara), Abe Jahadhmy (San Marcos), Dan Feldhaus (Dos Pueblos), Dan Peeters (Bishop Diego) and Pat Cooney (Carpinteria).
—This was the first luncheon under new SBART president Rich Hanna, the director of aquatics for the City of Santa Barbara.
—Athletes of the Week: Cross country runners from Dos Pueblos took both awards. Bryan Fernandez was the male winner and Addi Zerrenner won the female honor.
Fernandez ran a personal best of 14:43 to win the boys race and Zerrenner ran a course-record 16:59 to take the girls title at the Great Cow Run 5k in Cerritos.