Irwin, who began his legacy on the football fields at Newport Harbor
High in the 1930s and used his sports knowledge to coach the Sailors and
Orange Coast College in the 40s and 50s, is still fit as a fiddle after
all these years.
"It keeps me busy," Irwin said in his usual humble tone. "I'm really
not doing all that much these days, so I keep myself active whenever I
Always on the go, Irwin and his wife of 59 years, Lois, remain active
and helpful members of the Newport Beach area.
"We both volunteer at the Newport Beach Library whenever we can,"
Irwin said. "Lois is down there all the time and I try help out down
Irwin was a hard-nosed fullback for the Sailors. Upon his graduation
in 1936, he played at the College of the Pacific, where he played under
legendary Coach Amos Alonzo Stagg.
After his playing career ended, Irwin served in the Navy during World
War II and was a flight deck officer aboard the USS Lexington in the
From there, Irwin returned to Newport Harbor and coached football and
swimming from 1948-1955. His 1949 football squad went 8-1 and scored an
astounding 323 points.
"I still have fond memories of coaching at Newport," Irwin said. "The
classes were much smaller than they are today, so you could really get to
know the students and make a difference."
From Newport, Irwin coached one season at Orange Coast College before
retiring due to an illness. He helped guide the Pirates to a 7-1-2 record
and an Eastern Conference title.
Eventually, Irwin would land at UC Irvine as the school's athletic
"I even went back there recently for the baseball stadium
ground-breaking ceremony," Irwin said. "It's great to see them improve
their athletic standards."
Nowadays, Al and Lois spend time traveling to either Hawaii once a
year or to Stockton for UOP functions.
"I also attend Newport's homecoming football games every year," Irwin
boasted. "It's my old school and I'm proud to be a part of it."
When he's not on the bike, in the pool or avoiding Lois' dog house,
Irwin likes to keep in touch with old friends. "I go to a lot of class
reunions," he said. "Either to see former teammates, classmates or even
to see some former players I coached. I still keep in touch with a good
percentage of them."
For some quiet time, Irwin spends his time in the garage with his
hobby. "I'm into wood carving," he said. "I make sea shells, fish, all
sorts of different things."
One-of-a-kind fixtures made by a one-of-a-kind guy.