By Steve Ramirez, Staff Writer
LONG BEACH - Dwayne DeSpain’s status at Los Altos, and in the Valley, was legendary. The former Los Altos High School football coach is arguably the best coach in the area’s history, and now he has his spot among the best in the CIF-Southern Section.
DeSpain, who won seven CIF-SS divisional titles from 1972-1988, was inducted into the CIF-SS Hall of Fame on Thursday during the CIF-SS Council meeting at The Grand Event Center. “I humbly accept it,” said DeSpain, who now lives in San Diego. “I had a great staff. They were very loyal and they worked hard. And I had good principals who backed us 100 percent, and we had great athletes.”
DeSpain transformed Los Altos into one of the most recognizable programs in the CIF-SS. He was 244-94-9 from 1969-96 and won divisional titles in 1972, ’73, ’76, ’77, ’82, ’86 and ’88.
He also coached nine CIF- SS divisional Players of the Year, including Randy and Rob Hertel and Blake and Mike Smith.
“The (1976 team) was special,” DeSpain said. “It was the last 4-A (champion). We had to play five games that year.
“That ’76 team, we had got in as a wild card, us and Compton High School. They sent us to Dos Pueblos and we had to win five games to win it. That was a first.
“Then we repeated in ’77 and won the first Big-Five (Conference).
“We had some good teams. My ’82 team with Mike Smith went undefeated and won a mythical state title. I had some great athletes, but more importantly, some great assistants.”
Mt. SAC hosts invite
Mt. San Antonio College will play host to its 62nd annual cross country invitational, beginning today.
The meet, which runs through Saturday, will feature division 3, 4 and 5 and sweepstakes races at noon today. Divisions 1 and 2 and sweepstakes are set for 7 a.m. Saturday.
Area teams expected to compete include Glendora, Rosemead, South Hills and St. Lucy’s.
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