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Orange County Prep Review : This Principal Really Puts Himself Into Sports

November 10, 1986|Steve Lowery

Ladies and gentleman, we give you San Clemente High School principal Jim Krembas.

Molder of young minds, shaper of youthful character, aquatic partner of Chuck the Duck, and wearer of the oversized Triton mascot head.

Krembas, 50, is in his first year as principal of San Clemente after serving five years in that capacity at Capistrano Valley and four years before that at Dana Hills.

The Capistrano Unified School District has a policy of rotating principals every five years or so.

Besides his duties as an administrator, Krembas takes it upon himself to be San Clemente's biggest athletic cheerleader, designated marching band guider and second-string voice for the school choir.

"I think it's absolutely imperative to be a very visible figure at school," he said. "If you're going to ask the students to be involved and do their best, you have to set the example. So I make it out to wherever the band is performing and help guide. And I try to help out the choir, but I'm not that much help."

Krembas is also one of five directors of the Laguna Niguel Community Services District and is a member of the Laguna Niguel Community Council. He founded the Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce, of which his wife, Jeanette, is president.

OK, everyone catch your breath.

"I've attended a lot of workshops on time management," he said.

And he has attended a lot of high school games.

Water polo, volleyball, football, cross-country, tennis . . . doesn't matter what time, what level, Krembas tries to be there.

He says his goal each year is to attend at least one game of each sport at each level.

There are 22 sports offered at San Clemente, usually with four levels for each sport (varsity, junior varsity, sophomore, freshmen). That's about 88 games.

"The guy is everywhere," said Steve Yancey, San Clemente water polo coach. "Wherever you look, he's patting some kid on the back, telling him he's doing a great job. Doesn't matter what sport, or if it's varsity or freshmen, he's out there."

He's also in there, as in the pool with San Clemente's adopted mascot, Chuck the Duck.

"We thought Chuck was a perfect symbol for San Clemente," Krembas said. "Ducks are identified with the water and the land, and San Clemente is on the land but identified very closely with the water."

So, after a water polo practice, Krembas jumped into the pool with Chuck for a get-acquainted splash.

Besides his fine-feathered friend, Krembas has impressed the water polo team, which awarded him a letterman's jacket; the varsity football team, which gave him a jersey; the sophomore football team, which gave him a cap, and the cross-country team, which gave him a sweat shirt.

"I think the kids feel good about the support," Krembas said. "They know I'm interested. And it's not just football. Sometimes people tend to forget how much time and effort the kids in some other sports put in."

Not that Krembas has anything against football. In 25 years of education, Krembas is proud to say he has missed only three varsity football games.

"Two because of family illness, and one because, well, I got married."

When San Clemente played at Capistrano Valley this season, Krembas donned the Triton mascot uniform, which includes a pitchfork and an oversized head mask.

"Since we were playing my old school, I wanted to make sure everyone knew where my loyalties lay," Krembas said.

Yancey said: "When I saw him pop his head out of that mascot mask I just about died laughing. The guy is on fire. He's brought a new pride to the school."

Apparently Krembas' fire has lit up more than the students.

"I imagine every profession eventually catches up with you so that your energy and enthusiasm level is pretty low," said Jim Mc Naught, San Clemente athletic director. "But you meet a guy like Jim and it wakes you up. You're excited about being involved with young people again.

"It's fun to be associated with San Clemente High School these days. Whether you're a student or on the faculty. It's a fun place to be."

Stat add: In reference to a Times' article last Wednesday on the difficulty of keeping accurate high school football statistics, Dennis Coburn, 43, of La Palma called to say he believes he's found a better way.

Coburn and partner David Workman, 30, of Westminster, work for a computer services company and over the past two years developed a computer program they call MLS Rapid-Stats.

Coburn says the software, "takes the guesswork out of football statistics."

As Coburn explained, Rapid-Stats only requires that someone chart plays and the movement of the football. No addition is necessary.

"The software takes care of all of that," he said.

Of course, you still have to find someone who can accurately spot the ball. But if you can, Rapid-Stats will give you more than 300 statistical categories in about 90 minutes.

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