Villa Park football coach Dusan Ancich is following in the footsteps of his father, Marijon Ancich, who won 360 games, the second most in California history, at St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs and Tustin.

Fryer: Ancich comes from family of winners


It was difficult enough to endure, listening to people criticize her husband.

But when they get on her youngest boy ...

"With Marijon, I kept my mouth shut," Jacquie Ancich said. "But when it's my son, it's a lot harder."

Her son is Dusan Ancich. It is difficult to figure out why people in the seats on the Villa Park side of a football stadium would complain about him.

Dusan Ancich has coached Villa Park to the CIF-Southern Section's Southwest Division championship game, in which Villa Park will play Edison on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Angel Stadium.

The Spartans are attempting to win their first CIF football championship since 1977.

Ancich took over the Villa Park program in 2008. The Spartans that season finished 4-6 overall and 2-3 in the Century League. Not great, but better than the 1-9 and 0-5 figures of the previous year.

In 2009, Villa Park went 7-4 and 3-2 and made the playoffs for the first time in a few years. The climb continued, with a 9-4 record in 2010 and the Century League championship, and a trip to the Southwest Division semifinals.

Last year, the Spartans went undefeated in league and in the regular season, and ended up at 11-1.

And here they are, 12-1 and playing at Angel Stadium. They got to the Southwest final via last week's 35-34 comeback victory over Tustin, the team that eliminated Villa Park in the 2010 and '11 playoffs.

Dad had some success, too.

Marijon Ancich's teams at St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs and Tustin won 360 games, the second-most in California history and surpassed only by De La Salle of Concord coach Bob Ladouceur.

Ancich coached St. Paul over three separate tours of duty, the final being a three-year stint that concluded at the end of the '11 season. He also coached at Tustin from 1984-92. (Myron Miller, who resigned as Tustin's coach Thursday, followed three years later.)

The word "legend" is overused and is as common as tattoos these days. But it applies to Marijon Ancich.

Marijon, now 72, saw 230 of his high school players advance to college football, several of them making the step to the NFL. And 54 of his ex-players became head coaches at college or high school programs, including sons Dusan and Visko, with the latter the coach at Whittier High.

Dad hoped the boys would get into coaching at some level.

"I encouraged them to coach," he said. "But I didn't know it would come to this."

Marijon likes to attend practices, but he makes sure to watch from a distance.

"Oh, I see something and I want to run onto the field," Marijon said. "I want to remind a guy he's not playing deep enough or something like that. But if I'm on the field, then people think I'm trying to take over."

Dusan and Visko, the only boys of Marijon and Jacquie's seven children, grew up around St. Paul. They actually did not pay much attention to the games at the famous "Pit," St. Paul's on-campus football stadium.

"St. Paul was more of a day care, really," Dusan said. "Even during games, I didn't watch much football. I was out playing in the mud."

Dusan and Visko played for Marijon at Tustin. Dusan went on to play at Cerritos College, then Fresno State and New Mexico. He considers himself fortunate to have played for excellent coaches throughout his career, including Cerritos coach Frank Mazzotta, father of La Habra coach Frank Mazzotta Jr.

His father's influences were less game strategy and more approaching and accepting the ups and downs of the game.

"Never be too overjoyed or too over-depressed with anything that occurs," Dusan said. "But that's how you should take life, too, you know?"

Like his father, Dusan gets much satisfaction out of pursuing and achieving team goals.

"There's something special about the sport of football," Dusan said, "something special about being around guys working hard together to do something special together."

Jacquie and Marijon have been married 45 years. The seven children have provided them 21 grandchildren, three of them belonging to Dusan and his wife Sara. Like all good mothers and grandmothers Jacquie is ready to defend them all.

"I'm very protective of my kids," Jacquie said.

She is proud of them, too. Friday night, her youngest son has given her another big reason to be that way.

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