Bill Crow, Mission Viejo High School football coach for the past eight years and a member of the school's football staff since 1970, has resigned, according to two of his assistants.
"We found out the other day and it was a complete surprise," said Ron Drake, Mission Viejo receivers coach. "I guess he's been thinking about it for some time."
Crow, who led Mission Viejo to the Central Conference championship in 1981, reportedly made the announcement Thursday during a meeting with his coaches and tendered his resignation to school officials Friday, citing personal reasons. Drake said Crow would inform his players of his decision today.
"I know enough that he is resigning for personal reasons," Drake said. "And that's all I know."
Attempts to reach Crow were unsuccessful.
Ray Dodge, Mission Viejo athletic director, declined to confirm Crow's resignation.
"I'll speak about that when and if it happens," he said.
Crow came to Mission Viejo in 1968, after coaching for three years at Orosi High School in the San Joaquin Valley. In 1970, he joined the Mission Viejo football staff as defensive coordinator and in 1980 replaced John Murio as head coach.
He led Mission Viejo to a 13-0-1 record and the Central Conference championship in 1981. The Diablos defeated Los Amigos, 35-0, in the championship game at Orange Coast College, and had an outstanding defense, shutting out eight opponents.
"Bill Crow's record stands for itself," Drake said. "You just don't replace a guy like that."
In 1985, Mission Viejo advanced to the Southern Conference final against Santa Ana and was favored to win a second championship under Crow. But Santa Ana sophomore running back Robert Lee rushed for 231 yards to lead Santa Ana to a 32-21 victory.
This season, Mission Viejo was the surprise champion of the South Coast League, defeating league favorites El Toro and Capistrano Valley in the regular season.
The Diablos advanced to the Southern Conference semifinals before losing in overtime, 7-6, to Los Alamitos. It was the fourth consecutive year that Mission Viejo had reached the semifinals.
Crow's departure leaves a void in a Mission Viejo staff that has remained virtually intact for more than 10 years. Drake has been with the team for 11 years, Ken Sjobom (secondary) 14, Bob Hivner (defensive line) 18 and Mike Rush (defensive coordinator) 10.
"We've been together so long, that of course, it's a bit sad," Sjobom said. "But I'm happy for Bill, that he can take care of some other things in his life."
Crow played football at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, graduating in 1964.
From 1971 to 1979, he was also Mission Viejo's track and field coach.