Warren roasted and toasted at Boys and Girls Club

Local sports icon Mike Warren was roasted by longtime friends in front of about 300 people Thursday night at the Goleta Boys and Girls Club. The former Carpinteria High, Lompoc High and UCSB football coach was honored in celebration of his 65th birthday and his upcoming retirement from Santa Barbara City College, where he has worked since 2006 as Athletic Director and Associate Dean of Educational Programs.

The event raised funds for local Boys and Girls Clubs.

Roasters included former UCSB Athletic Director Stan Morrison, Associated Press sportswriter John Nadel, prolific local athlete Rick Candaele, as well former colleagues Lou Panizzon and Kathi Sarkin. It was emceed by former UCSB Sports Information Director Donn Bernstein.

Morrison, a former head basketball coach at USC, UOP and San Jose State, ribbed Warren for a full 22 minutes, but like all the other speakers also had some heartfelt things to say. One in particular stood out, as he was telling the story of watching Warren coach the Gaucho football team to an upset win over Azusa Pacific and future NFL fullback Christian Okoye:

“I was there on the line of scrimmage for every snap. I’ve been around a lot of big football stuff in my life — I was at Cal the last time they made it to the Rose Bowl in 1959 — but I’ve never had a prouder moment than to watch the Gauchos beat Azusa Pacific, at Azusa Pacific, and completely frustrate this great, great football player, Christian Okoye, and the rest of their football team…

It was because a coach caused us to believe that together we could accomplish it. I cannot tell you for one second — as a guy who’s blown the whistle and played the game, coached it and seen others — tell you how he is capable of transforming people and causing them to believe in something greater than themselves. It’s a unique for of leadership that I have not seen in many people…”