New SPHS Athletic Director | Two Candidates Eyeing Position

Both a math and sports medicine teacher to interview for job to replace Greg Luna

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | News | South Pasadena High Athletic Director Greg Luna, above, is looking for a new basketball and cross country coach. He hopes to name a basketball coach in the next two weeks and a basketball coach in about a month

Two candidates are scheduled for interviews this week to replace South Pasadena High Athletic Director Greg Luna, who was told at the beginning of the school year he would not be retained going into the fall of 2019.

Interviews are scheduled for Wednesday with a current teacher on the South Pasadena High campus, and another highly qualified, local area candidate with extensive sports experience.

One candidate has some football and cross country coaching experience at South Pasadena High.  The other candidate has helped with the cross country program at the school under former SPHS head coach Patrick McGrail. Requirements for the job call for the candidate to be a teacher.

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“They’re both great guys,” said Luna, who will depart the athletic director position following the school year in June after five years on the job. He looks forward to remaining on campus as a social studies teacher during the next school year.

South Pasadena High School Principal Janet Anderson said she couldn’t respond to inquiries regarding Luna’s departure as AD because it’s a personnel issue.

Geoff Yantz, the superintendent of the South Pasadena Unified School District, said in a statement: “We greatly appreciate Mr. Luna’s contributions to the SPHS athletic program. He has provided a solid foundation for the next athletic director to take the program to the next level.”

South Pasadena major sports – football, basketball and baseball – have struggled in recent years. The football team fell on hard times, going 3-7 overall, including a 1-3 league mark last fall. The boys’ basketball team finished the 2019 campaign 7-19, 4-6 in a three-way tie for third in league, and the baseball team had league marks of 1-11 in 2017, and 0-12 in both 2018 and 2019.

“Unfortunately, the recent lack of success in the big three sports [football, basketball and baseball] makes it seem like our overall athletic program is deficient,” said Luna earlier this year. “Overall we win between 5-8 league titles each year. We had two CIF titles last year and most of our teams compete in CIF playoffs.  So, although most of our student-athletes experience successful seasons, this is overshadowed by focusing on only a couple of sports. It sends a message that some teams are more important and diminishes the athletic success of many students.”

The SPHS administration informed Luna early on they were moving in a different direction. “Although I’m disappointed with the decision, I respect the need for the SPHS administration to work with the AD that will execute their vision of an athletic program,” he wrote in a memo to South Pasadena High teachers and staff this spring after his fate was made public.