Area coaching legend Greg Gano hopes to get things going at Don Lugo

By Aram Tolegian
Most local fans know Greg Gano as the head coach who won four CIF championships while in charge of the Los Altos High School football team.
And despite unsuccessful stops at Damien, Tustin and Wilson since his days at Los Altos, the vibe on the street is that Gano is going to do big things at his latest stop, Don Lugo.
So far, that’s exactly the case. Gano has hit the ground running at Don Lugo and just this past weekend his team won its second passing tournament of the summer by winning the Tournament of Champions hosted by Santa Fe.
“We’ve got some good looking kids and there are some athletes,” Gano said of his team. “But just because you have them doesn’t mean anything. You don’t win anything in passing league, but we wanted to see if our kids can compete. We’ve competed very well.”
The Tournament of Champions was the second passing tournament that Don Lugo has won this summer. Earlier, the Conquistadores won the El Rancho Tournament. They also went 6-1 in the Bonita Air Assault and have only lost two games all summer — both to Villa Park, which Don Lugo finally beat last weekend.
Gano’s coaching staff has some elements from the past on it, most notably former Los Altos assistant Marco Curtis handling the running backs. Longtime Gano cohort Lee Fair, who was Gano’s defensive coordinator at Los Altos and Damien, is also helping out but is limited by knee trouble.
“Lee Fair is a consultant,” Gano said. “He can barely walk out there on the field because of his knees, but Lee will always be part of something I do. He’s a good man. Me and Lee know each other better than any other coaches I’ve been around with.”
Don Lugo has a huge challenge in the form of Colony in the Mt. Baldy League later this fall. But should the Conquistadores make the playoffs, there’s no reason to think Gano can’t take them on a deep run in Division 8.

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  • Editor of the “Editor”

    The Kurt Scoby of high school coaches. Moves around the same if not more than him.

  • flatiron

    His only…and I mean ONLY success was at LA when he had Casteneda, McBride, and their toughest opponent was Little Bo Peep Jr. High.

    • Lupe

      Except that time he beat OLu in the finals, beating C.O. twice ain’t too bad either.

  • Jastrab

    I know coach Z is gone, but you have coaches that have great success at one program – nothing to be ashamed of – and you have coaches that can take a program from zero to more than something – champions in a short time. I would put coach Z in a different category than Gano. Say all you want about SD being a small school running the wing, but that coach took SD from nothing to CIF champion and now is on the verge of doing something big in Oregon. That program wast last in their league before he arrived and I believe he took them to league champion and they are in the highest division in that state. That is the sign of a great coach – taking you skills on the road and being able to the the following:

    1, Build a program from a perennial loser

    2, Do it is different divisions and strength of schedule

    3, Do it without a wide open private recruitment

    4. And lastly leave a legacy that can endure

    Gano has not been able to do it at programs where people like coach Z could. I think Gano inherited a lot of what DeSpain left, but coaches like Z had nothing and built it up.