Bill Parcells retired as the Dallas Cowboys head coach — after previously retiring as the coach of the New York Giants, New England Patriots and New York Jets — and the news made headlines and generated discussion among talking heads on ESPN and sports talk radio.

I say, “So what?” Parcells never won an NFL title without Bill Belichick as his defensive coordinator, which is no coincidence, I believe.

Parcells is one of those bully coaches of the Bobby Knight mold. Knight, by the way, is his good friend. But Parcells is also a coach who looked the other way when Lawrence Taylor had his drug problems, because Taylor won games for him.

We, as San Diego football fans, should be more concerned about what it means now that two of San Diego’s legendary high school coaches, Torrey Pines’ Ed Burke and San Pasqual’s Mike Dolan, announced their retirements last week.

As a community, we will miss their influence on young lives. They demanded much of their athletes in building integrity and their athletes subsequently set an example on campus.

In high school sports, schools with strong football programs have fewer discipline problems on campus.

“They’ll be missed,” said Bonita Vista coach Carl Parrick, one of San Diego’s few remaining coaches with two decades plus on the job. “A lot of young guys take over programs and talk about how they’re going to build a winner, but they only last two or three years. They find out how much work is involved besides just football.”

Burke, 70, posted a record of 182-60-5 and in two stints at Torrey Pines covering 21 seasons. The Falcons, who never won a league football title before Burke began his second stint in 1991, won four CIF San Diego Section titles and eight league titles.

His finished 30 seasons as a head coach with a career record of 243-96-6. He also coached five seasons at San Dieguito, three at Taft and one at King City.

Dolan, 60, retires after 21 seasons as San Pasqual’s head coach. Dolan was San Pasqual coach Bob Woodhouse’s top assistant before he retired. Dolan struggled the first half of his first season replacing Woodhouse before establishing himself and putting his mark on the program.

Dolan’s career record was 160-83-3. He won two CIF San Diego Section titles in 1987 and 1997 and won five league titles.

Few coaches got more out of their talent than Burke and Dolan. Curt Stephenson, a former NFL player from La Jolla whose son Cooper played for Burke and is now at USC, once said that Burke’s game plans were on the level of an NFL coaching staff.

“Coach Burke and his staff would make adjustments in a game that you see at the college and pro levels,” Stephenson said. “It was interesting to see that in high school games.”

Dolan’s trademark as a coach is he didn’t have two-way starters. He believed football demanded so much time and effort, that he wanted as many kids as possible to be starters.


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