New Point Loma High School principal Kelly Lowry and a select committee are near an announcement of the school's new head football coach and Lowry, a former assistant football coach at Mission Bay, knows full well how important the choice is.
When former head coach Mike Hastings stepped down after 26 years on the football staff, 22 as head coach, Lowry was taken by surprise. Hastings was only the third head coach the school has had since 1946, so Lowry didn't foresee the selection of Hastings' successor as one of his first tasks.
"I hope that we can find another individual who can carry on that tradition, and mentor young student-athletes as they become productive citizens," Lowry told the Peninsula Beacon just hours after learning of Hastings' decision.
The open position apparently drew high interest from applicants throughout the region. Interviews were held Oct. 26 and 27, but Lowry said the selection committee had so many well-qualified applicants that interviews were to continue with the selected name revealed Nov. 5 or 6 (after press time). An updated story will be published at sdnews.com.
Hastings, 52, called his staff together for a lunch meeting on Oct. 21 to tell them of his decision.
He noted it was time for him to make a change in his life and enjoy more time at home. His daughter, Kylie, is a freshman at Cal Poly where Hastings played football and he hopes to visit the campus with his wife.
The football head coaching position requires a full commitment of nearly 52 weeks a year. There are numerous off-season workouts to be held along with developing young players hoping to earn a varsity spot. Checks must be made on players' progress in classes along with any off-campus issues and home issues while teaching five periods a day.
Hastings and Pointer fans have felt for years that the school's placement in the Western League with private school powers Cathedral Catholic and St. Augustine was an issue. The private schools are able to bring in selected players and waive or reduce tuition fees if needed. An off-season effort to move the Pointers to a different league was unsuccessful.
In fact, Hastings guided four of his teams to the CIF championship games at Qualcomm Stadium. The Pointers were defeated by St. Augustine in 2005 and 2006, and in 2007 and 2009 by Cathedral Catholic, both schools playing in Div. II determined by enrollment despite their clear advantage in obtaining players.
Hastings celebrated 148 wins with his assistants over 22 years ranking him 17th all-time in San Diego history.
Lowry cited Hastings' strengths, besides guiding his athletes to success, as teaching important life skills including personal integrity, self-discipline, teamwork, dedication, goal setting, and completion.
Hastings noted he will remain as a PE teacher and mentor to students for five or six more years before fully retiring.