YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Gonzalez Turns Things Around

June 22, 2003|Martin Henderson

When Santa Ana Foothill had players who were among the most talented in Southern California, outsiders figured winning came easy. But what happens when the players aren't as seasoned, the talent's not as abundant and there are injuries at every turn?

That's Joe Gonzalez's life. He has won two Southern Section championships, but this season he may have done his best job of coaching in a 14-year career that has produced six championship appearances.

Gonzalez's squad finished 20-13 with an improbable run that included three playoff victories over teams ranked in The Times' top 25 and a runner-up finish in Division I.

The Knights lost 11 of their first 17 games and seemed no better than the third-place team in the Sea View League. But Foothill shared the league title, its 13th in a row, and lost only two of its last 16 games, both to Irvine Woodbridge -- 1-0 in league and 3-2 in the Division I title game.

Last week, Gonzalez, The Times' softball coach of the year, resigned with a 355-79 record and a sense of extraordinary satisfaction.

"If we were graduating 13 and leaving three, it would be one thing, but we're graduating three and leaving 13," said Gonzalez, whose assistants, son Mike, and Joe Brunanski resigned with him.

"I didn't want to leave the program with nothing."

Los Angeles Times Articles