QUICK HITS: O’Leary did it all at Dos Pueblos

The spirit of Coach O will forever live on at Dos Pueblos High.

On Friday night, DP will officially dedicate its football stadium in the name of former coach and athletics director Scott O‘Leary, who died in 2003 after serving 34 years at the school.

Scott O'Leary

Scott O'Leary

Scott O’Leary was — and always will be — the main man of the athletics department at the Goleta school.  In his long career, he coached practically everything and everybody, and also ran a tight ship as the Chargers’ AD.

And he did it all for the kids.

To O’Leary, coaching was not all about winning, it was about teaching young people life lessons. It was about fair play, fundamentals, teamwork, unity, playing for the love of the game and school, reaching your potential and keeping that even keel.

O’Leary was the master of keeping things in perspective. Whether a game was a great victory or a tough defeat, he always remained composed and thoughtful afterward.

“Scottie always had a plan and stuck with it. He wasn’t a screamer and yeller. He was always calm,” Dick Mires, a coaching colleague of O’Leary’s at DP, told then News-Press senior writer John Zant in a 2003 story.

“He never looked for accolades,” Mires added. “He just did his job with great professional integrity and the results were remarkable. He loved what he did and we all loved what he did.” 

O’Leary’s wife, Kathy, described him best in a statement read by their son, Roarke, at a memorial service for Coach O.

“Much has been written and said about Scott and his extraordinary life and career. He had a talent for teaching and coaching, which he did with great integrity, great contentment and great fun. And he loved doing it every single day.

“At the heart of the matter was the fact that he loved kids — boys and girls of all races, religions, sizes, shapes and abilities. He wanted to help them reach their highest potential and become their best selves. So if you’d like to continue his legacy, and reap rewards beyond measure, go about your day with joy in your heart, and a smile on your face, just like Scott. Treat everyone with respect and patience, just like Scott. And though you grow old, may you never grow up, just like Scott.”

When talking with coach Jeff Hesselmeyer of San Marcos (who coached at DP when O’Leary was the AD) and current Charger coach Jeff Uyesaka (who played for Hesselmeyer), it’s like hearing O’Leary’s voice again. They always keep things positive.

“He was just the best there is as a person and as a coach,” Hesselmeyer said of O’Leary.

“No one will ever do the job Scott has done for Dos Pueblos athletics,” said principal David Cash in June of 2003 when O’Leary announced his retirement “He’s a superstar. Part of that is him as a human being, just the person that he is. Some of it is his dedication to Dos Pueblos. He’s at every event, and I mean every event. He has an encyclopedia knowledge that would take someone years to develop.”

— UCSB is starting an event that will pay tribute to some of its sports stars of the past. Legends of the Dome will make its debut at the women’s volleyball match against Pacific on Friday, Oct. 16 at the Thunderdome. A former Gaucho volleyball star (it’s a secret) will be recognized that night and a poster of the athlete will be unveiled and kept on display.

The athletics department will also be doing tributes for women’s and men’s basketball players during their seasons.

— Get ready for a new local school to be competing in CIF sports. Providence Hall, a Santa Barbara Christian high school, has been approved by the CIF-Southern Section to begin playing in the freelance small-schools division in the 2010-11 school year.

 Providence Hall opened its doors in 2007. It has been competing primarily against home-school teams in volleyball, cross country, track and basketball.

The school shares a building with a Catholic grammar school at the corner of Anacapa and Micheltorena Streets. …

— Mark Knight is making an impact in his first year at the University of Louisville. The former SBCC soccer star, was named Big East Player of the Week and was selected to Top Drawer Soccer’s Team of the Week after leading the Cardinals to a 6-0 rout over DePaul last Saturday. In that game, he scored two goals in a four-minute span

Knight has scored five goals and has two assists for the 17th-ranked Cardinals (6-1-2). He holds the SBCC records for goals for a season (31) and career (59). …

— Local volleyball teams are dominating at the middle school level, too. Crane School recently won the ninth annual Junior Tournament of Champions in Oxnard, defeating Ventura’s Balboa Junior High 25-22 in the final.

Crane’s Tess Dewell was named the MVP and teammates Cydney Pierce and Brenna Geiger were chosen to the all-tournament team. …

Crane went 8-1 in pool play and defeated La Reina 25-19 in the semifinals.

— Local teams have been fighting the flu bug in recent weeks. UCSB volleyball coach Kathy Gregory said several members of her team were so sick last weekend when they played at Cal State Fullerton that “I can’t believe we competed.” The Gauchos lost in three games.

 Dos Pueblos girls volleyball coach Todd Garrett kept star players Carly and Sam Wopat out of the lineup against San Marcos because they’d been sick with the flu. …

— Wesmont College is holding its second annual William Wiersma Golf and Disc Tournament at Montecito Country Club on Thursday, Oct. 15. The event raised more than $10,000 last year for the William Wiersma Memorial Scholarship Endowment at Westmont.

Wiersma was a 2006 Westmont graduate who spent his senior year studying at Oxford. An avid disc golfer, he was killed in a car accident in October of 2006 while returning home from a tournament in Phoenix.

His family established the scholarship to honor the principles of collaboration for which Will stood.

Regular golfers and disc golfers will both tee off at 1 p.m., following a lunch at noon. An awards ceremony is planned for 6 p.m.

Greens fees are $150, $115 for recent college graduates (’05-’09) and $75 for current students. To register, please visit www.willstourney.com.