If you hear Joe Vaughan tell it, he's just along for the ride.
Vaughan, girls' basketball Coach at Buena High, goes for his state-record 600th career victory tonight in a Channel League game at Ventura, but insists he has little to do with such a landmark occasion.
"I just don't get wrapped up in all that," he said. "I don't make any of the baskets, pass for any of the assists or get any rebounds."
Perhaps not. But he must be doing something right.
Buena (15-4, 3-0 in Channel League play) has the winningest girls' program in state history and never lost more than four games in a season under Vaughan, who is 599-66 in 25 seasons.
Consider: Only three of the 108 girls' programs in the region won 24 or more games last season. Buena has averaged 24 victories a season for 25 years.
A victory tonight would be sweeter than most.
Ventura (17-0), ranked No. 1 in the region by The Times, defeated the No. 2 Bulldogs, 60-57, on Dec. 11 in a tournament game and threatens to break Buena's 69-game league winning streak.
As always, Vaughan's 85-year-old mother, Zell, will be in attendance.
If Vaughan has one regret, it's that his father will not be.
Grady Vaughan, Joe's mentor and biggest fan, died in 1995 at 83, just before Vaughan's 500th career victory.
"It's tough getting to this spot without him around," said Vaughan, 55. "When you get to these points in your life without people who had such an influence on you, it can be difficult."
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Leaders among active girls' basketball coaches in the region:
Rank Coach School Victories 1. Joe Vaughan Buena 599 2. George Corisis Palmdale 370 3. Melissa Hearlihy Alemany 337 4. Nori Parvin Newbury Park 334 5. Dave Murphy Simi Valley 308 6. Rich Allen North Hollywood 297