If a poll were taken to select the most popular Santa Monica High athletes of all time, Sam Anno would rank high on the list
I learned this firsthand a half-dozen years ago when Anno and I were paired to make appearances throughout the city for a project. It had been many years since he played football for the Vikings but everywhere we went he was recognized and appreciated.
After he played at USC and in the NFL for seven years he was on Norm Lacy’s coaching staff at both Samohi and St. Monica on CIF championship teams. His personality and knowledge inspired the young players.
We kept in contact when he moved on to a position on Pete Carroll’s USC staff. He had been in private business but then returned to his first love – football.
He had played for the Minnesota Vikings one year when Carroll was an assistant. That was the connection.
He coached the special teams one season when the Trojans didn’t do well in that area. He did primarily film work after that and took some classes at USC, telling me he had some long days but was determined to keep learning.
Anno wanted to advance in the profession and now he has taken the next step. He’s leaving USC to be an assistant at Central Connecticut State, where he’ll coach the linebackers.
He’s going from a national power to a much smaller school, but he’s putting together a resume that should aid his climb. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ultimately has a major role at a Division 1 power or if he’s chosen to be on the staff of an NFL team.
He will be remembered for going from Samohi to be a linebacker at USC the same year teammate Keith Davis made the same move. That’s pretty rare – two linebackers from the same high school receiving scholarships from USC.
I know I’m joined by many of Anno’s Santa Monica friends in wishing him well on his journey.