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McLeish Has Calm Approach at SCC

November 02, 1996|MARTIN BECK

Southern California College men's soccer Coach Dave McLeish has never been a particularly in-your-face motivator, but he says he has toned down his style even more this season.

He says his perspective has changed after surviving near-fatal complications from open heart surgery last spring. "I have a little bit of a different outlook after having such a hard time for a few months," McLeish said. "I was pretty mellow before, but I'm even more mellow now."

McLeish, 48, got his first hint of trouble last spring. While playing soccer with some of his SCC players, he felt a pain in his arm. "I ignored it," he said, "like any good American male."

Playing again three days later, McLeish felt the pain move farther down his arm. When several days later he felt pain all the way down to his hand while surfing, he finally decided to get himself checked out.

Doctors found three blocked arteries and surgically cleared them, but about a week later they had to operate a second time. McLeish's chest was riddled with infection.

"The second operation just about did me in," he said. "My mother and my wife are both registered nurses and my mother told my brother to come and see me because it was not looking good.

"It was a scary situation."

But after four hospitalizations, including one in which he was rushed to the emergency room by paramedics, and months of rest at home, McLeish recovered.

This fall he returned to his full-time job teaching Spanish at Marina High and his walk-on position as SCC's coach.

He says he feels nearly as physically strong as before. His soccer team is also fueling his good feelings.

Tuesday, the Vanguards beat Fresno Pacific, 1-0, in overtime on a goal by junior Chuy Miramontes to clinch a spot in the Golden State Athletic Conference playoffs. SCC (8-7-1, 5-3-1 in conference) leads Fresno Pacific (7-9-2, 4-4-1) by one game with one game remaining but holds the advantage in the tiebreaker in case of a tie.

SCC will finish the regular season today at Azusa Pacific (15-3, 7-1), which is ranked third in the NAIA. SCC beat Azusa, 2-0, the first time they played.

Miramontes, from Sunny Hills High, has six goals and seven assists. Martin Lippens, a junior from Germany, has seven goals and five assists. Peter Schumerth, a senior from Esperanza, has four goals and three assists, playing everything from forward to fullback.

McLeish said he's having a blast in his 10th season at SCC. "I always had fun before, but I'm having more fun now," he said. "It's not as life and death now in terms of winning and losing, but you know I think the kids are doing a great job with a lot less pressure from me."

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