First Ever Football Staff: Vince Asaro, Bill Vail (head coach), Pat Pohl, Bob Ralston, and John Meyers
Pat's History - The Edison High School years 1969-71 years I got hired to open up Edison High School in 1969, I taught three classes of PE in the morning and then two classes of general science and then back to coaching football in the afternoon. I was taking master degree classes at night at LB State and working at the liquor store on the weekends. Bill Vail pulled me up to the varsity because of my expertise in football. The other varsity coaches didn't like that. A rookie coach coaching varsity in his first year. I hadn't paid my dues yet. Anyway Coach Vail was a hard working man and he expected everyone around him to do the same. We had really long practices (4 hours +). We met with the team at lunch everyday and the had coaches meeting after practice and on the weekends. We scouted other games and played our own games on the weekends too. Sundays were film analysis days and we meet all day long and into the evening. During football season my hours at the liquor store were almost nil. The 69 season was our first and we had no seniors on the team and just a couple of juniors. Most of the team were sophomores. We went 4-3-2. The first time in Orange County Foogball History that a new school did not have a losing season. The freshman team went 0-9 and the sophomore team went 2-7. During the season we lost a student (Mark Naylon) that I was close to in a JV game. He got knocked down and hit his head on the hard unwatered turf pretty hard. We took him out of the game and never used him again. At the end of the game we got up to shake hands with the other team and he collapsed. He was rushed to the hospital and even though he just had a concussion and was knocked out. Finally a doctor came in to check him and found that his eyes were not responding. He went into surgery and they removed a blood clot in his head. He died. He was a straight A student and a outstanding young man from a great family. I remember the parents didn't do a lawsuit or get mad. They just said, "at least he was doing something he loved". The entire school turned out for the funeral and it was my first funeral seeing how young people handle death. It left a big impression and I'm sure it affected me too. Later that year we had our fullback (Sam Fuga) make a routine block on a player and never got up. It turned out to be a bruised neck and spinal cord and he was left a quadriplegic. I remember kneeling by his side on the field (the same field I played against Anaheim years before) and him asking me to put his legs down. He thought they were sticking up in the air. The same comment I would hear later at Chabot College with Rich Cunningham story. Anyway at half time the team gathered in the locker room. We were trailing Estancia High School and the captains got everyone to get on their knees for a prayer. At the end of the prayer the team took an oath to never lose a game again of the two fallen teammates. The coaches look at each other and worried. We still games left with the first and second place teams in the league. We were fearful for the disappointment they would have to deal with. Again I learned about the will of the human spirit. I remember the team shaving their head to show their commitment as did the coaches. (as see in the photo below with me lecturing my class). Somehow that next week we defeated Magnolia High School with a last second field goal. The final game of the season was against cross town rival and undefeated league leader Fountain Valley High School. It was an amazing game and somehow we upset them 21-20 to win. The most memorable moment in the game was on a fourth and 10 play at the end of the game. We threw a corner pattern to our split end who made a terrific catch over his shoulder for what appeared to be the winning touchdown. There was a penalty and now it was fourth and 25. Bill Vail did what he did all season in great play calling. He called the same play again. Most of us thought it wouldn't work, but who would expect to try the same exact play again. We did and the receiver made the same outstanding catch. I remember that first year of teaching as any teacher does. It's the year you have to do lesson plans every night for all you classes. As the years go by you get better and re-use you plans. But that first year is tough. Add two classes for your master's degree and we bought our first home. Well we bought Sharon's parents home, but we did fix it up. I remember going to school before the sun rose to open the gym and weight room up and then driving away from the school when it was dark and thinking I was making more money working at the liquor store. One of the coach's wives kept records of our hours and found that even though we were getting paid a stipend of $1500 to coach after school, it worked out to 11 cents an hour. That spring I coached the track team and got my first experience as a pole vault coach, which I knew little about. I remember vaulting with the kids and injuring myself and needing stitches. Anyway that another story (pole vault story). When summer came I took some more classes to finish my masters degree. But there actually was some spare time to fix up the house and play with the kids. It was a hard first year of teaching. I did work at the Liquor store filling in for co-workers who were taking vacations. My first annual teaching contract was $6K for the entire year. You don't go into teaching for the money. That's for sure. 1970-1971 Year at Edison Right before the school year started Bill Vail called me on the phone. He said I got a problem. The sophomore coaches have just informed that they are not going to coach this year and asked if I would go down and coach the team. I'm sorry but you are the lowest man on the totem pole on seniority. He thought I would be upset because I would have to leave the varsity team who was going to probably have a great season. Exactly the opposite. I saw weekends off so I could work more hours at the liquor store and less meeting, etc. Sophomore coaching is a lot less demanding than varsity. Coach said as soon as the sophomore season is over you'll be right back up on the varsity when we go to the playoffs. I didn't really think that was important but I said I'll do it if I can hire my assistant coach. He said sure. That was the deal maker. My best friend Terry Lorentzen didn't graduate with me and had to go an extra semester at Long Beach. After graduation he took a trip to Europe with our friend Frank Marshall (yeah, the hollywood producer). Anyway I called his dad and figure out a way to get a message to him. "Get home I got you a job". He flew home from Rome and got home the night before the first practice. We stayed up late and I discussed the defenses and offenses we would be using. He would be the line coach and I would be the back and receivers coach. We started with that freshman class which went 0-9 the year before, intended on making them winners. That year was the most fun year of football coaching I ever had. Terry and I had coached those kid to a 7-2 record. Unfortunately the freshman team went 9-0 (mainly because Terry and I decided to take no freshman up to the sophomore team or the varsity team. I did returned to the varsity for the post season games, ended up 13-0 and won the CIF Championship. So we were know as the team that lost the two games that season. Didn't matter Terry and I had the time of our lives. He got to do his student teaching there and in the spring he was a regular sub there and the next year he was offered a full time position to coach football and wrestling. There was an opening because I got my Masters Degree finally and took a job coaching track at Chabot College in Northern California. He coached and taught at Edison for over thirty more years. The spring season I coached a championship "C" track team which had four freshman pole vaulters going over 12 feet each. (again see pole vault story). As I said before I did return to the varsity team and coached with them the last four weeks through the championship. Remember the players took an oath to never lose another game and they didn't. During the last week we did the team photos and John Meyers was teasing me about being in the picture.. Your weren't here all the time you shouldn't be in the picture. I left. Bill Vail asked me the next day, "where were you?" I told him about the teasing and he said that I deserved to be in that photo as much as anybody else. I had put in a lot of hours in the off season and I was one of the varsity coaches who just helped out the program when we needed him (meaning taking the sophomore team on such short notice). That photo still sits in the trophy display at Edison High School and several people have asked me why I'm not in it. It was a mistake leaving that day. I truly regret it. It was good I left at the end of the year though to take a new job. . Bill Vail took another job also. The new head coach and I never really got along very well. Let alone Terry got a full time job replacing me. In fact the only reason I interviewed with Chabot College was because Terry and his girlfriend Debbie were getting married in Carmel and beside the immediate family I was the only one invited to the wedding. Since I had to drive up anyway I thought I just practice an interview in case someday I really applied to get a job at a college. At the time it also seemed to be a good idea to get my family out of the "status seeking" environment of Newport wealth. Again life has a way of changing directions on you. I was off on another direction and I was not going to be coaching football at the new job or at least I thought I wasn't. I did return two years later to watch the sophomores play their last game as seniors at their request. Unfortunately there was no championship in their senior year. But I was honored that they wanted me there. Several of them did stop by the college to visit me in their later years. Again I was humbled and honored to be associated with great coaches and great student/athletes.
This is Pat's third year of teaching. He's is pictured here with best friend Terry Lorentzen. They're both are 24 years old here and it was one of the best football season ever. Terry coached football and wrestling for years at Edison High School in Huntington Beach, California and Pat went the next year to Chabot College in Hayward, California and Las Positas College in Livermore, California to coach and teach 38 more years.