Fryer: Lots of names mentioned for open football jobs


This will be a newsworthy month for the county schools searching for a football coach.

Santa Margarita is interviewing candidates. The school has done an excellent job of keeping secret the names of its interviewees.

Mission Viejo coach Bob Johnson’s name is circulating for that job, again. He has shown interest in Santa Margarita in the past.

Johnson, 70, said he is not interviewing at Santa Margarita. And he is not retiring, either.

His plan for 2016 is to continue to coach at Mission Viejo.

“I’m staying here to coach the heck out of ’em,” Johnson said Thursday.

It would have been a great time for Johnson to end his career. His grandson, Brock Johnson, just finished an award-winning senior year. Mission Viejo went 16-0 and won CIF section and state championships.

Another Johnson, besides Brock, is leaving Mission Viejo football. Bret Johnson, Brock’s father and Bob’s son, wants to spend time watching Brock play college football. Bret Johnson, who at El Toro was one of the better quarterbacks in county football history, had been the Diablos’ ultra-clever offensive coordinator since 1999.

Centennial of Corona coach Matt Logan’s name comes up any time there is a high-visibility football coaching job open in Southern California. He did not respond to messages left for him Thursday.

Logan was sought after by Servite in 2005, but it wound up hiring another good one, Troy Thomas.

Thomas has been at his alma mater, Crespi of Encino, the past two years. Crespi was 2-8 overall and 0-6 in the Mission League in 2015.

Thomas has been sent text messages (perhaps his favorite means of communication) about the Santa Margarita job a few times since Rick Curtis was fired as Santa Margarita’s coach last month. He has not responded – an oddity that arouses suspicion that he is in the mix at Santa Margarita.

Speculation thatJim Hartiganwould depart JSerra to return to Santa Margarita, which he led to two CIF-Southern Section championships in the 1990s, was eliminated for good today. JSerra announced it signed Hartigan to a contract extension that goes through the 2019-20 school year.

Tesoro coach Matt Poston, who is 27-9 in three seasons with the Titans, stated he did not apply for the Santa Margarita job.

Santa Margarita president Andy Sulick said Thursday the school received more than 40 applications for the job and it hopes to have a new coach in place by Feb. 1.

Former Santa Margarita coach Harry Welch said Thursday he is not in the interview rotation at Santa Margarita. He admitted his interest in the job.

“As I told you before,” Welch said, “if asked I will serve.”

Who is going to be asked to serve at Santa Margarita?

Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:

John Barnes, who retired last month as football coach at Los Alamitos, said his son Brian Barnes has applied for the position. Brian Barnes, who was an All-County lineman at Los Alamitos, had outstanding head-coaching stints at Tesoro and Estancia.

• A retirement party for John Barnes will take place Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. in the Los Alamitos gym. Go to for details.

• Mission Viejo’s football team has a couple of celebrations and recognitions coming. The Diablos will receive a state championship award Jan. 22 at an on-campus assembly. They will be recognized by the city council Jan. 26 at 6 p.m. at the Mission Viejo Civic Center.

• La Habra’s football stadium is overdue for upgrades. At least an artificial turf field, please.

• Orange County nominees for the McDonald’s All-America girls basketball game are Reili Richardson, Brea Olinda; Ally Rosenblum, Mater Dei, and Barbara Sitanggan, Troy. County nominees for the McDonald’s boys game are MJ Cage, Mater Dei; KaVaughn Scott, Orange Lutheran and Eyassu Worku, Los Alamitos. The announcement of the final rosters of 24 girls and 24 boys will be televised live by ESPNU on Jan. 17.

• Tickets for the Nike Extravaganza basketball event Feb. 5 and 6 at Mater Dei are on sale each week Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Mater Dei basketball office or at the ticket window of the school’s Meruelo Athletic Center. Prices are $12 or $22, depending upon seating choice, with courtside seating packages available. Transactions are cash only.

• The U.S. Army All-American Bowl Game is Saturday at San Antonio, Texas. NBC will televise it live at 10 a.m. Playing for the West will be Santa Margarita quarterback KJ Costello, Santa Margarita receiver Dylan Crawford, Mater Dei offensive lineman Frank Martin, Mater Dei linebacker Curtis Robinson and JSerra offensive lineman Luke Wattenberg.

• Funeral services for Howard Isom are Saturday at noon at Pierce Brothers Crestline Mortuary in Riverside. Isom was Ocean View’s football coach in the early 1990s.

• The Orange County Retired Coaches Luncheon is Jan. 20 at the Santa Ana Elks Club. Contact Carl Sweet at or Frank Alvarado at for information.

• The Sally Reclusado Women In Sports Conference is Feb. 24 at Mariners Church. Contact Reclusado at for information on the event that grows in stature every year.

• The Sunset Vs. Trinity League Baseball Challenge will have a pre-event dinner Jan. 30 at the Newport Harbor Elks Lodge. Guest speakers are Orange Coast College coach John Altobelli, USC coach Dan Hubbs and UCLA coach John Savage. Cost is $75 a person, $650 for a table (email for information).

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