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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Starr Is Stepping Down as Taft's Coach

High school football: He announces resignation, effective at end of season, to spend more time with son.

October 28, 2000|ERIC SONDHEIMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WOODLAND HILLS — Troy Starr, who built the Taft High football program into a City Section power, announced Friday he will resign as coach at the end of the season.

Starr, 38, said he wants to spend more time with his 11-year-old son, Brandon.

"I don't want to get older and say, 'Gosh, I missed those years,' " Starr said. "The almost insane drive to win a championship is so time consuming. I feel I've accomplished everything I tried to do.

"My priority is my son. I've spent all my time with everyone's kids except my own."

Starr, in his ninth season at Taft, said he has been thinking about giving up coaching for some time. He broached the subject last spring with Principal Myra Fullerton.

"It's a couple years in the making," he said. "I almost retired in '98. The three-year run took a lot out of me."

Taft was City runner-up to San Pedro in 1996 and '97 before finally winning the championship in '98. Starr's record at Taft is 84-24-1, including 49-8 in league play, with eight consecutive playoff appearances.

The intense and demanding Starr took over the program in 1992, reaching the City 3-A final a year after the Toreadors had gone 1-8. He had been the defensive coordinator at San Fernando, but he quickly learned the offensive game and his teams featured a balanced attack.

A number of talented players rose to prominence under Starr, including running back Jerry Brown, linebacker DaShon Polk, quarterbacks Nick DiPadova and Brandon Hance, and this year's star player, sophomore receiver Steve Smith.

Starr drew criticism from rival coaches because the Toreadors received a steady influx of transfers, benefiting from Taft having more open-enrollment slots than other City schools in the Valley.

Three times Taft's football program was placed on probation for City rules violations, the latest transgression occurring this season when Starr was forced to sit out a game for conducting an illegal practice on Labor Day.

Starr said his decision to announce his resignation in the eighth week of the season will give Taft more time to find a qualified replacement.

The Toreadors, with one of the best sophomore classes in the section, remain a contender for the City championship.

Starr said he still loves the game and did not rule out returning to coaching after his son becomes older.

But he's prepared to walk away from the game as soon as the season ends.

"I'm at peace with it," he said.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Troy Starr's career coaching record at Taft:

*--*

Year Overall Record Playoffs 1992 9-5 (4-3) Lost in 3-A final 1993 10-2 (6-1) Lost in quarterfinals 1994 10-2 (7-0) Lost in quarterfinals 1995 7-3-1 (6-1) Lost in first round 1996 13-1 (7-0) Lost in 4-A final 1997 12-1 (7-0) Lost in 4-A final 1998 12-2 (6-1) Won 4-A over Banning 1999 5-6 (4-1) Lost in first round 2000 6-2 (2-1) ?

*--*

League record in parentheses

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