Kevin Brockway, who has given up his job as Santa Monica High baseball coach to become an assistant at West Los Angeles College, thought long and hard before making the decision.
In the end it became clear to him what he must do for two reasons – his wife’s illness and his professional goals.
“My wife is battling cancer,” Brockway said last week. “I want to spend more time with her and being a head coach in high school is very time-consuming.
“Another factor is that I’ve been an assistant at Pepperdine and Texas Pan-American and was head coach at Santa Monica College when it had baseball and I’d like to get back to that level.
“It’s harder to get there coming from a high school job.”
Brockway said he told the Samohi players about his wife’s illness the day after accepting the West LA position. He also advised the players to work hard and move forward.
It’s too early to know who the new Samohi coach will be. Brockway departs following three successful seasons, culminating with a 24-10 record and an appearance in the CIF Division 4 championship game at Dodger Stadium.
The team was senior-dominated but also had some talented younger players who’ll become the nucleus of the next Viking team.
Samohi second baseman Johnny Huerta is one of three players who has committed to West LA and was in uniform for the July 30 press conference announcing the return of baseball to the school after a 21-year absence.
Brockway said West LA is interested in Diego Valdez, but the Viking first baseman is undecided about his choice. Several other Viking players have decided on four-year schools.
The West LA ballpark has distances of 330 feet down the right and left field lines and 400 to center. That sounds inviting to hitters, but the distances to left-center and right-center are further.
Brockway applied for the head coaching job but lost out to Bob Grant. The staff of Grant, Brockway and one other assistant all have professional experience. Grant spent five years in the Mets’ organization and Brockway did the same in the Giants’ organization.
“That kind of experience is unusual on a community college staff,” said Brockway.
West LA’s first game will be January 25, 2008 against Los Angeles City College.