In our quest to discover the area's greatest coach, Cerritos-Artesia Patch received multiple nominations, comments and poll votes.
Ultimately, St. Joseph High School Girls Basketball Coach Joe Pacheco at the all-girls Catholic school in Lakewood .
Pacheco had earned 67 percent of votes cast , when voting ended Friday morning. Coach Mark Johnson of the Cerritos Aquatic Club placed second with 18 percent of the votes, and Coach Richard Roper of the Boys Basketball team had the third most nods.
Droves of former and current students expressed their thoughts on how Pacheco played an instrumental role in their development as athletes but more importantly as individuals. It's clear to see by the words shared, Pacheco has proved throughout the years that he's not only considered to be a great mentor and "father figure" to his athletes, but also the heart and soul of the school's basketball program.
Here's what a few Patch readers had to say about Pacheco in the comments:
- "Coach Joe Pacheco has been my basketball coach at Saint Joseph High School and he has made a difference in my life. He has helped every girl in the basketball program improve both as an athlete and person. Even though he pushed us through the running and conditioning, in the end it was worth it because it benefited us. He gave his team all the glory when we did something, he was never selfish. Not only was he there for me on the basketball court but also outside. My sophomore year my grandfather and another teammate of mine's grandfather passed away and Coach Pacheco helped us get through this obstacle and was at the funeral to give his condolences. He treated us more then his players but as his daughters. Thanks to Coach Pacheco I feel like I am ready to start the next steps in my life because of all the lessons he taught us." --
- "Coach Pacheco has made such a huge and special impact in my life. During my junior year of high school, I was diagnosed with cancer. He went above and beyond his duties of a high school basketball coach by helping with fundraisers, checking up on me and my family throughout my treatment and visits to the hospitals. He even generously donated his own blood and platelets that were essential to my recovery. Coach Joe Pacheco is more than simply a coach. He is an admirable person with such a big heart. I will never forget all the amazing deeds he has done for me, and I am forever grateful for having the honor to have met such a kind and compassionate person." --
Congratulations to Coach Pacheco and all of the other great local coaches who received nominations from readers!
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