Karl Gaytan, who came to Ocean View High School hoping to revive the Seahawks' struggling football program, has resigned as coach after two unsuccessful seasons.
Gaytan, 32, said Wednesday he plans to leave the Huntington Beach school after the school year to enter private business and possibly to become an assistant coach at Edison High in Fresno.
John Myers, Ocean View principal, hired Gaytan in March 1984 from Needles High, which has an enrollment of only 300 students. Myers said he was gambling that Gaytan's success in a small program could be duplicated in the Sunset League.
Gaytan won only two league games in two seasons and posted a 4-16 record. The Seahawks have qualified for the Southern Section playoffs only once in the school's eight-year history.
"It was time for a change," Gaytan said. "I need a break after coaching for 13 years. I thought I had done all I could for Ocean View's program, and I think the program will continue to prosper.
"We've built a new weight room, hired full-time assistants and established the lower-level programs. (The freshman team two season ago was 8-2; the sophomore team last season was 6-4.) When I got here, I inherited juniors and seniors who had gone 0-20 as freshmen and sophomores.
"I came here with blind optimism. I would have liked to have seen us win a few more games on the varsity level, but I don't feel bad about anything. I can walk away knowing the program is in good shape."
Gaytan became head coach at Needles in 1980. He posted a 32-14 record in Needles and came to Ocean View highly recommended by veteran coaches Dave Thompson of Marina and Herb Hill of Loara.
He quickly became a controversial figure when he announced that he was "going to introduce physical football to the Sunset League" at a preseason meeting of league coaches. But Gaytan's teams managed to beat only Huntington Beach in league play during his tenure.
"I don't think I ever adjusted to the city life in Huntington Beach," Gaytan said. "I knew after the first week I was here that the town wasn't my cup of tea. I grew up in Colton and enjoyed the small-town environment in Needles."
Gaytan was hospitalized at Thanksgiving for seven days with gall bladder surgery and had his appendix removed. He described himself as "a walking time bomb" during the 1985 season.
He will become an area manager for Visual Sports Network, a professional sports photography company, in July. He also hopes to become a walk-on coach at Edison, where his long-time friend, Rick Stannard, is the school's athletic director. Stannard and Gaytan were teammates at San Bernardino Valley College.
Gaytan said there is heavy sentiment among the Seahawk boosters for assistant Howard Isom to replace him. Isom, the team's defensive coordinator last year, was one of six finalists for the job two years ago.
Myers announced that Ocean View will begin taking applications for Gaytan's position immediately.