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Register's Most Influential 2015: Valencia coach Mike Marrujo
Valencia High’s football coach recently announced his retirement after winning three CIF-Southern Section championships and 15 league titles with the Tigers. Younger coaches for decades have looked to Marrujo, who is known for coaching with all the correct motivations. “You’ve got to walk the walk,” he said. “If you don’t, the kids will see right through that.”
Name: Mike Marrujo
Job: Football coach, Valencia High in Placentia
Bio: Marrujo plans to retire from coaching after this season, his 35th as Valencia’s coach. He coached the Tigers to a record of 284-131-6, including three CIF-Southern Section championships and 15 league championships. Marrujo got his coaching start at Pius X, in Downey, his alma mater. He and his wife of 37 years, Lucienne, live in Long Beach. They have two adult daughters.
Why he’s an influencer: Marrujo ended a career that has been a powerful influence on thousands of students and a generation of coaches. His approach to getting the most out of young athletes, as players and people, has become a template for successful, ethical coaching.
Biggest challenge: “Myself. When you’re a coach and things go poorly, which they inevitably will at one time or another, you stop to think, ‘Is it me?’ I would then take a look at myself, which is hard to do objectively.”
Work philosophy: “When you’re the head coach, you have to be the first to show up for work and you have to be the last one to leave."
Thoughts on leadership: “You have to lead by example. ... You’ve got to walk the walk. If you don’t, the kids will see right through that.”
Inspiration: His coaching mentors. “Warren Simmons at Pius X, who got me into coaching, taught me to work hard. There was Curt Pike, one of the guys who worked with me for years and years at Valencia; he was there for me almost the whole time. And Norm Parker, the head coach at Valencia before me, he had a really good effect on me because he was such a high-quality individual.”
What’s next: “My wife and I are going to travel now and do all of those things we haven’t been able to do.”
– Steve Fryer