From 34 years of red and gold to a sudden return to blue and red, Dan Carmazzi said he is going home.
Carmazzi confirmed Wednesday he is stepping down as Jesuit High School's football coach to become co-athletic director, assistant football coach and a U.S. government teacher at Christian Brothers.
This is no ordinary switch. This is CBS, Jesuit's rival since opening in 1963 and where Carmazzi quarterbacked the Falcons in 1970 and got his coaching start later that decade.
Carmazzi was the longest tenured football coach among the Sac-Joaquin Section's 197 schools. He took over the Marauders in 1981 after four years as an assistant coach under Red Smith and slowly built a championship team.
In 30 seasons as head coach Carmazzi won 230 games, directed 17 playoff teams, won nine conference championships, won two of five city championship games and two Division I section titles.
Deciding to leave Jesuit wasn't easy, Carmazzi said. He spoke of sleepless nights, soul searching and discussions with his wife, Gloria, and coaching friends about what to do. He said a new challenge coupled with the benefits package was too good to pass up.
"I really thought I'd finish at Jesuit, wearing red and gold, but CBS out of the blue called, and I had to look at it because it's a great opportunity," said Carmazzi. "CBS called before (in the 1990s), but my sons (Matt, Gio and Dominic) were at Jesuit and the timing wasn't right. It is now. I really grappled with it. So many great things happened at Jesuit, and it's a great school."
Carmazzi insisted there was no rift with Jesuit officials that caused his move, or that he was nudged out after struggling to an overall record of 18-23 in the past four seasons playing in the demanding Delta River League that includes top area teams Folsom and Pleasant Grove.
"Absolutely not true," Carmazzi said. "All the coaches were coming back. We haven't had the best record in recent years despite playing hard, and those questions do arise (from fans and other coaches) when you don't win as much as you'd like. I felt good about our school support. It's all positive."
Jesuit athletic director Chris Fahey, who admitted he was "absolutely shocked" by Carmazzi's announcement, also downplayed any ill will.
"CBS made Dan a great offer, and I can't blame him for going," Fahey said. "It was my expectation that he'd be our coach. I told Dan I was going to miss him, working with him.
"He taught me at Jesuit. He coached me, mentored me when I was a young coach. I'll miss that.
"I told him I'll root for you every week except the Holy Bowl (the annual game between the schools), and then I'll want to kick your tail. He said the same thing. He's a great coach and you can't find a better guy."
Carmazzi said he is eager to work with CBS head football coach George Petrissans, whose team went 1-9 last season after four consecutive playoff seasons when Petrissans was offensive coordinator. CBS last won a playoff game in 1986.
For now, Carmazzi's plotting a garage sale.
"I've got some really nice knee-high, red-and-gold coaching socks from the 1980s if anyone wants some," Carmazzi joked.