November 30th, 2015, 3:20 pm ·
· posted by STEVE FRYER
Mike Marrujo today announced his retirement as football coach at Valencia, where he was varsity head coach for 35 seasons.
Marrujo, 64, coached Valencia to three CIF-Southern Section championships and 15 league championships. Only John Barnes, who last week announced his retirement at Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo's Bob Johnson and Mater Dei's Bruce Rollinson have more Orange County league titles.
His record at Valencia is 284-131-6. Including four years coaching at Pius X of Downey, Marrujo's career record is 306-131-1. Barnes and Johnson are the only other county coaches with 300 or more wins.
Marrujo said coaching finally had become a grind.
"It was wearing on me physically this last year," he said. "It's a lot tougher to coach when you're older than it is when you're 26 years old, which I was when I started."
Marrujo is unsure if he will also retire as a U.S. history teacher at Valencia at the end of this school year.
This season's teams was among Marrujo's better ones. The Tigers won the Empire League championship with a 5-0 league record and were undefeated overall until a loss to Villa Park in the second round of the CIF-SS Southwest Division playoffs left them at 11-1.
Four years ago, Valencia had its worst season under Marrujo, going 1-9.
He gave no thought to quitting coaching then.
"No way was I going out that way, 1-9," he said.
Since '11, Valencia went 37-10 overall and 20-2 in the Empire League, including league championships in 2014 and '15.
Marrujo said the most memorable players he coached were Ray Pallares, who for years held the Orange County career rushing record; Chris Draft, who played at Stanford and in the NFL; and Mike Edwards and Ryan Roskelly who were among many All-CIF players at Valencia.
What he will miss most is the relationships with coaches and players.
"The camraderie between coaches and players will always be special," Marrujo said.
A player on Marrujo's first Valencia team in 1981 was Steven Garten. A player on Marrujo's final Valencia team was Warren Garten, son of Steven.
Marrujo, who has two adult daughters with his wife of 37 years, Lucienne, said he has no interest in being assistant varsity coach or a lower-levels coach of any kind anywhere. He is done coaching and he is satisfied.
"I enjoyed all of it to the very end," Marrujo said.