Any discussion of the best Santa Monica High quarterbacks of all time would have to include Pat O’Hara.
In 1985 O’Hara was named Bay League Player Of The Year after throwing 21touchdown passes for Samohi, two less than the previous year. He went to USC, was on his way to being the Trojans’ starting quarterback until he was injured, but recovered to play two years in the NFL and 11 in the Arena Football League.
O’Hara played in five Arena League championship games and was a winner in three. In his Arena League career he passed for more than 13,000 yards.
Then he went into coaching as an assistant. On Friday, July 25 he was named head coach of the Los Angeles Avengers, who play at Staples Center.
The Avengers are counting on O’Hara’s knowledge of the unique indoor football game to reverse their fortunes. The team has played since 2000, gone through three previous coaches and never been much of a factor in the playoffs.
O’Hara is happy about receiving this opportunity, even with a team that recently completed a 5-11 season and fired Coach Ed Hodgkiss.
“The Avengers have a lot of talent that needs to be tweaked a little,” said O’Hara, who was the offensive coordinator for Tampa Bay of the Arena League the last three years.
O’Hara is 39. He and his wife, Billie, have two children.
Arena League games are usually high scoring, with final scores resembling basketball games. It isn’t uncommon for the losing team to score 50 points.
The field is shorter and not as wide as in college and NFL football, and since most players are required to play both offense and defense (not the quarterbacks) speed is important and most players aren’t as big as players in outdoor football.
One of O’Hara’s assets as he went through the interview process was his feel for the type of player who can succeed in the indoor game.