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Coach feature: Steve Conti -- Working out for the best

August 19, 2000

Barry Faulkner

Steve Conti is no mystic. So, while the Corona del Mar High boys

and girls volleyball coach acknowledges certain fortuitous turns in his

personal and professional life, he is also quick to single out hard work

as the primary reason for any success his teams have enjoyed.

And there has been plenty of success.

In five seasons as the CdM boys coach, the Sea Kings have reached the

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the CIF Southern Section finals the last four years, including titles

last spring (Division I) and 1998 (Division III).

His three-year tenure with the CdM girls program includes a 1997

Southern Section crown in Division III-AA.

Previous coaching stops at Foothill High, Golden West College and The

Bishop's School in La Jolla also include a string of league titles and

two CIF San Diego Section title-match appearances.

Then there was his playing career at Estancia High and GWC, where he

helped the Eagles and Rustlers to two section and two state runner-up

finishes, respectively.

Conti made the team at San Diego State, but elected not to compete due

to work commitments.

Though supremely competitive and working toward a teaching career,

Conti didn't initially target coaching as part of his future.

But, for the first of many occasions, fate intervened.

"I was visiting some friends in Santa Barbara and one of their

girlfriends was varsity girls coach at The Bishop's," Conti recalled.

"Her junior varsity coach had just resigned, eight games into the season,

and they needed a replacement. The Monday after I drove back from Santa

Barbara, I went straight to practice and I was the JV coach.

"I knew about volleyball from having played, but I look back now and

realize I didn't know what the heck I was doing as a coach."

Conti quickly found his way, took over the small private school's

girls varsity program two years later and led it to its first section

title match in his first season.

But, when a his part-time teaching contract wasn't renewed, Conti

returned to Orange County, went back to school to finish off work toward

a credential, and became the men's assistant coach at GWC.

Then, in 1992, he became walk-on girls varsity coach at Foothill and

later guided the Knights' boys, as well.

While in the process of applying for the CdM boys opening, Conti was

told he had landed a teaching job at Foothill, so he planned to remain

there.

But, after returning from a summer vacation, he was informed the

teaching job was no longer available.

Soon after that, CdM Athletic Director Jerry Jelnick called to

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