Terry Logue leaned back in his chair Monday evening, holding court in Bear River High School’s cramped football coaching office that smelled a bit like a set of shoulder pads.
The scent was a reminder of the effort that has gone into creating and maintaining a successful football program at the Grass Valley school, and the office walls are a shrine to that success, including a photo of Logue and sons Zach and Matt celebrating Logue’s 100th coaching victory.
Now Logue, who started coaching football at Bear River in 1988, is one victory from joining an exclusive group. Only five area coaches have won 200 or more games, and just two are active, Mike Alberghini of Grant and Dan Carmazzi of Christian Brothers, with 232 victories each.
Logue, Alberghini and Carmazzi have more in common than victories; along with their championship seasons, they’ve endured lean times during which they’ve felt pressure to step down. But all three have persevered, despite health issues.
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“I need this,” Logue, 62, said. “Coaching is good for us old-timers.”
Logue is proud of Bear River’s success. After a slow start as a new school, Bear River became a small-school powerhouse. The Bruins’ 25 consecutive non-losing seasons is a streak no other area team can match, and Logue credits Scott Savoie, his co-coach the past few years. “It’s a lot more sane doing this with Scott,” Logue said. “A great coach.”
“It’s been a great journey,” Logue added. “It’ll be a nice milestone, 200 wins, and it makes me think that we’ve done some good things, the right things. I’m an old dinosaur, ornery, but I firmly believe that athletics are extremely important to kids. Sports hold kids to a higher standard, and kids need structure and discipline. It’s still a very neat thing.”
Battling the body
Logue understands his creaky knees, bad hips and sore shoulders, after playing football at Paradise High and at Long Beach State (he had a kicking/linebacking tryout with the Los Angeles Rams in 1972). But he struggles to accept what ails him now. Two years ago, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease; despite the tremors that sting his pride, he’s still alert and feisty.
“Sharp as a whip,” assistant coach Duane Zauner said. “What a coach and man. Some call it ‘old school,’ but I think Terry just gets it. He sees the vision.”
Logue retired from teaching three years ago, which allows him more time for football preparation and to spend with his wife of 37 years, Andrea, who insists he keep coaching.
“I didn’t know what was bothering me, then found out it was Parkinson’s,” Logue said. “I’ve always been high-strung and nervous and thought that’s what caused the tremors. It was scary and it’s no fun, but I’m hanging in there. Being around the players really helps.”
Bear River players say they are inspired by Logue, deeming him too important to disappoint.
“He’s a legend, and we feel lucky to have him,” Bruins senior linebacker John Voter said. “Logue and Savoie are the program. We grew up wanting to play for those guys.”
Bear River opened in 1986 and went 0-10 in 1987, its first varsity season, before Logue took over in 1988.
“I couldn’t stand to watch the game films of that first team, like lambs out to slaughter,” Logue said. “My first year, we were someone’s homecoming opponent five times. We weren’t a very good football team, but we could sure judge a float.”
But success came quickly, and the Bruins were ranked No. 1 in the state in Division III in 1991. The 1994 team was 13-0 and finished No. 1 in the state in Division IV.
This season, the Bruins hope to qualify for the playoffs for the eighth time in 10 seasons and the 22nd overall. Despite dwindling enrollment – from a high of 1,250 in the 1990s to this year’s 710, according to administrators – Bear River remains a consistent contender. And the Bruins have won a lot of games with 180-pound linemen.
“One thing about our kids here is they compete,” Logue said, “They give us everything.”
Alberghini less grumpy
After leading Grant to the most victories in the region in the 1990s and 2000s, including six Sac-Joaquin Section titles and a CIF state championship in 2008, Alberghini said he became a grump. The Pacers followed a 13-1 season in 2010 with records of 8-4, 5-6 and 8-4.
Now in his 46th season as a coach and 25th as the head coach at Grant, Alberghini is much happier. And it’s not just because the Pacers are off to a 2-0 start.
Alberghini altered his diet and started walking regularly – to keep pace with his wife, Mary – and lost 48 pounds.
“I was mentally really unhappy,” Alberghini said. “I was so used to things being better in football for us. I got spoiled. I started walking, and I developed a better feeling about everything. I’m really enjoying coaching again. And I can look in the mirror now and not giggle.”
At 170 pounds, his lowest weight since his Sacramento State days, Alberghini, 67, jokes, “I cinch my belt and have a lot of belt left over.”
Dan still the man
From 1981 through 2011, Carmazzi won 230 games at Jesuit, elevating a mediocre program into a dominant one that won two section championships, and coached his three sons, Gio, Matt and Dominic.
But Carmazzi’s final seasons at Jesuit were his most difficult as he battled cancer and a new administration that he said nearly drove him out. After leaving on his own accord, he joined the Christian Brothers’ staff as an assistant in 2012.
Carmazzi, 61, now a head coach again, said he is rejuvenated with No. 12 CBS off to a 2-0 start heading into Saturday’s Holy Bowl against No. 9 Jesuit at Hughes Stadium.
“I’m having a great time,” Carmazzi said as he watched a recent CBS volleyball game. “It’s been a good move. The kids have been great.”
Returning to CBS has brought Carmazzi full circle. He was a quarterback for the Falcons in the first two Holy Bowls in 1969 and 1970 and he got his coaching start at CBS before taking over the Jesuit program when he was 28. He called the Jesuit years “special,” but said he looks forward to leading CBS to its first section title since 1983.