On the eve of what was supposed to be one an enjoyable experience for the Rosemead High School wrestling program turned sad Thursday with the passing of Panthers wrestling coach Louie Madrigal.
Longtime Rosemead coach dies
By Steve Ramirez, Staff Writer
Louie Madrigal, the longtime Rosemead High School wrestling coach who helped build the Panthers into one of the top programs in the CIF-Southern Section, has died.
He was in his early 50s.
“It’s sad. I don’t know what else to say,” said Adrian Marquez, Rosemead’s 130-pound wrestler who is expected to compete in this weekend’s CIF-State championships, which begin today at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield. “I wish he could be here.”
Rosemead athletic director Marc Harisay said Madrigal was scheduled to drive up with his assistants and Marquez to the state championships.
“I really have no details,” Harisay said. “I was told that they drove over to his home when he didn’t show up at the school and that’s when they found out he had passed away.”
Madrigal guided one of the top programs in the area for much of the past two decades.
He took over for Curt Nichols in the late 1980s and built a program that was one of the most-recognized in the CIF-SS.
He led Rosemead to CIF-SS individual team titles in 1988 and 2004 and a dual championship in 2002. During his tenure, the Panthers produced 17 CIF-SS champions, three CIF state champions (Michael Kawamura, ’95; Hector Torres, ’97-98) and one senior national champion (Manuel Rivera, ’03).
Kawamura was one of just three Valley competitors to earn four top-eight finishes at the state championships, and Rivera, now at Minnesota, is one of the top competitors in the Big 10 Conference.
Marquez is his latest prodigy. He won the 130-pound division at the CIF-Southern Coastal Division championships two weeks ago, then followed it up by winning a CIF-SS Masters title last weekend.
He is ranked second in the state at 130 pounds.