“That’s a long time,” Gray said. “Isn’t it?”
Gray, Terra Nova High School’s football coach for the past 23 seasons and one of the most decorated football coaches in Central Coast Section history, retired Monday after a combined 42 years of coaching football at Pacifica’s two lone high schools, the first 19 of which were spent at Oceana.
“It’s fun, it’s enjoyable, it’s exciting. There’s nothing rudimentary about it,” Gray said. “It’s something that you can look forward to everyday. ... Until you get so old that you feel like you can’t put the right amount of energy into it anymore. And that’s where I’m at now.”
Since 2009, Gray skippered Terra Nova to five Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division championships in as many years, including a CCS title in 2010.
Those titles took a toll, though.
“I’m 66 going on 90. I’ve reached a point where my physical health is deteriorating,” Gray said, citing pre-diabetes, two bum knees and a bad hip.
Gray, who had been contemplating retirement the past two years, relented that there are a “handful” of former assistant coaches within the district that could apply for his vacancy, and that he probably won’t have future contact with the team.
“It’s gotta be a clean break,” he said.
According to the Bay Area News Group, Gray retires with 256 career wins, third most in CCS history. But Gray said his accomplishments matter naught.
“I’m close to being at the top of the list, but that’s irrelevant,” he said. “If a youngster entered our program and then exited the program a better person and a better man, then it doesn’t matter how many games we won.”
1961-64: Played football at Clayton Valley High School
1965-66: Played at Diablo Valley College
1967-69: Played at San Francisco State
1970-71: Graduate assistant at San Francisco State
1972-90: Coach at Oceana High School
1991-2013: Coach at Terra Nova High School