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Drew makes debut as varsity head coach

This is John Drew’s 24th year teaching at Fallbrook High School and his 23rd year as a coach.

In the past he has been an assistant varsity football coach, a head junior varsity football coach, and a head junior varsity and freshman baseball coach, but the 2009 softball season will see Drew as a varsity head coach for the first time.

“They just needed somebody at the last minute,” Drew said.

An assistant coach can focus on instructing players. The duties of a head coach include dealing with parents, working with the school administration, fundraising, field maintenance, and media relations.

Drew will also be one of the parents this year; his ninth-grade daughter made the varsity team and will be one of three freshman girls on the varsity squad.

He also has a daughter in seventh grade.

The varsity head coach also works with the lower-level programs, and Drew will have more work than predecessor Nathan Willis. Fallbrook did not field a freshman team in 2008.

This year the Warriors will have both junior varsity and freshman teams as well as a varsity squad. “I think it’s a big plus that we’re able to have three teams this year,” Drew said.

The tryouts saw 37 players seek berths on the Fallbrook teams. The varsity will start the season with a 12-girl roster.

The junior varsity team, coached by Al Padilla, will also begin the 2009 season with 12 players, and Jennifer Thurston’s freshman roster consists of 13 players.

“We had hoped to have a little better turnout with the tryouts, but we’ve got a good group of girls on all three levels,” Drew said. “We’re pretty young, inexperienced, but a very good hardworking group of girls.”

Drew notes that the biggest challenge will be learning his players while the players learn him. “It’s kind of a day-to-day learning process for both of us,” he said.

This is actually Drew’s 27th year with Fallbrook High School athletics, since he also spent four years as a player.

He was on the Warrior baseball and football teams before graduating in 1978. He then played two years of baseball at Palomar College before obtaining his bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and returning to his hometown to teach and coach.

The Warriors began their season March 7 with a tournament at Serra High School. “We’re pretty excited and optimistic about the upcoming year,” Drew said.

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