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RUDY LUGO, 1947 - 2008

Longtime football, wrestling coach at Canoga Park High

October 23, 2008|Eric Sondheimer | Sondheimer is a Times staff writer.

Rudy Lugo, a teacher who coached football and wrestling at Canoga Park High School for many years, died Tuesday at his home in Canoga Park after a two-year battle with lung cancer. He was 60.

"They called him Mr. Canoga," said history teacher Richard Tibbetts.

Born Nov. 22, 1947, Lugo graduated from Canoga Park High in 1965 and played baseball at what is now Cal State Northridge.

After earning his degree, he returned to Canoga Park High as an assistant coach in 1969 and became a physical education teacher in 1972.

Lugo coached wrestling from 1975 to 1996, and became the head football coach in 1986, giving up the position after the 2006 season because of complications from lung cancer.

Lugo's football teams made the playoffs 12 times.

He coached dozens of former students' children, along with his own son, Christopher, now an assistant coach at Canoga Park High. Lugo was known for his positive demeanor and his love for his alma mater, which his mother, father, son, daughter and wife all attended.

"He was the type of coach I'd want to coach my kid," said former Reseda High School football coach Joel Schaeffer. "He was a fair person, very kind and had the kids' best interest at heart. He bled Canoga green."

The school had scheduled a Rudy Lugo Night for Nov. 7, when it was going to honor him during halftime at the football team's game against Grant High School. That event will still take place.

In addition to his son, Lugo is survived by a daughter, Melissa; his mother, Olinda; and a sister, Irma. His wife, Nancy, died in 2007.

Funeral arrangements were pending.

In lieu of flowers, his family asks that donations be made to the Canoga Park Booster Club, in care of the Rudy Lugo Fund, 6850 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park, CA 91303.

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eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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