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'Almquist will never retire from being a coach'

High School Wrestling

Almquist's daughter details impact wrestling coach had during his 17 years with the Sea Kings.

June 12, 2013

EDITOR'S NOTE: Gary Almquist retired as head wrestling coach at Corona del Mar High after 17 years last month.

He had previous coaching stints at Sierra High in Colorado Springs and Woodbridge in Irvine. He coached 23 individual league champions, 12 CIF section placers, one CIF section champion and one league championship team in 1999, according to a CdM release. He will remain as a teacher and activities director at the school, where he is known for his lunchtime whiffle-ball tournaments.

"Our wrestling program's loss is the rest of the school's gain as Gary will now be able to spend more time devoted to ASB and school activities and, hopefully, even be able to help out with athletics in general," CdM Athletic Director Don Grable said in an email. "We won't let him get lazy around here."

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Corona del Mar is seeking a head wrestling coach. Interested applicants should send a letter of interest, resume, and up to three letters of recommendation to Grable at dgrable@nmusd.us. The deadline for the application materials is Friday. For any questions contact Grable.

The following is a letter from Almquist's daughter, Megan Tait.

The breaking story [last month] came down when we got the news that Coach [Gary] Almquist, the varsity wrestling coach at Corona del Mar High School, announced his retirement from coaching.

He announced [it] to his boys as well as the board that it is time to retire and thus ending an era.

Coach Almquist has not only coached wrestling for over 20 years, but has been wrestling himself for over 40 years despite 10 surgeries that would have had most retiring a decade ago. It is through coaches like these we see a true passion and respect for not only the sport, but for the kids' lives he has touched along the way.

Coach Almquist is still highly involved at Corona del Mar, running [the Associated Student Body], and will remain a respected member of the teaching staff.

It wasn't difficult to get an understanding of the role Coach Almquist played at CdM and how he affected not only the kids, but the parents as well.

Sally Starnes said to Coach Almquist, "You touched my boys' lives. You made a difference in so many positive ways. The depth of your character and your influence continues through the lives of all those who knew you as a coach, a friend, a teacher and a man of honor. Thanks, Coach, for remaining an important part of their lives."

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