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Laguna Hills wrestling coach Cliff Jarmie, middle, led the school to its 29th consecutive league title this past season. He is pictured with Calvary Chapel's Jeremy, left, and Justin Thomas as they honored with the Register's coach and wrestler of the year awards.

Laguna Hills wrestling coach Cliff Jarmie retires after 40 years

STAFF WRITER

Cliff Jarmie knew it was time.

After spending 40-plus years in coaching, Jarmie, who has developed the Laguna Hills wrestling program into one of the most consistent programs each year, decided it is time to pass the torch.

“I used to love running practice and I think I just grew a little tired of it,” he said Thursday. “I think now is a good time to wrap it up and spend time with my family. My wife and I have seven grandkids.”

Former Laguna Hills wrestler John Hayes will replace Jarmie, who also retired as a teacher this year. Hayes graduated from Laguna Hills in 2008. As a senior, Hayes won a CIF title and finished sixth at Masters to qualify for the state tournament. He then moved to CS Fullerton to wrestle until the program was dropped.

Hayes, 27, has been an assistant with Jarmie since 2010. Hayes will teach P.E.

“I’m happy that John is taking over,” Jarmie said. “My biggest concern for walking away on my terms was having someone there in place to fill the spot. I didn’t want to build the program and walk away from it. I’ve seen so many programs disintegrate within a year.

“He’s a fabulous coach that’s come up through our system. The timing couldn’t have been better and I feel at easy being able to walk away and a take a backseat. He brings that energy into the room that I used to have and he brings enthusiasm. He's always been a mature soul. He had that characteristic, prescence and confidence. You could tell that he had the right quality."

Jarmie started his coaching career in 1972-73 at Santa Clara High. He also coached at Van Nuys, Foothill and El Dorado, where he also coached soccer, before moving to Laguna Hills. He started as an assistant in 1979, eventually taking over for the 1983-84 season.

He led the Hawks to their 13th CIF title and their 29th consecutive league title this season.

“I’ve had a great run,” he said. “It has been a process and you learn as you go through the process. I think I ended up being a much better coach at the end than at the beginning.

“The best thing about it, we put out some good goods and we had a team. There are a lot of schools that have maybe two good individuals, but we always built a team and a program and not only have we put out a lot of really good kids, but many have gone on to become productive citizens and that’s the important thing. The championships are nice …CIF, league, the accolades are nice, but it more important that you’ve had an impact on a kid’s life as far as them learning life skills.”

Jarmie said he still be involved, assisting with the administration duties, like scheduling, fundraising, but is looking forward to the free time.

“The summer never ends,” he said. “When you’re a coach or teacher, you have to be very unselfish. It is nice to be able to get up and take care of myself and go out and workout in the morning.”


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