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St. Ignatius head football coach John Regalia steps down

St. Ignatius head coach John Regalia shakes hands with a referee before a non-league football game against Palo Alto in San Francisco on Aug. 26, 2022. | Courtesy Paul Ghiglieri

St. Ignatius will be searching for a new head football coach after John Regalia announced he is stepping back from the position following 12 seasons.

A 1993 graduate of the school who went on to play tight end at Oregon State, Regalia’s teams had a 61-73-1 record, including a 31-48-1 mark in West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL) play. He spent 27 years coaching high school football, including 25 on staff at St. Ignatius.

Regalia’s teams won Central Coast Section (CCS) championships in each of his first two seasons. The Wildcats beat Sacred Heart Cathedral at then-AT&T Park for the CCS Division III title in 2011, avenging a Bruce-Mahoney Game loss in the process. In 2012, they stunned Bellarmine in overtime to win the CCS Open Division Championship. After failing to win more than two league games in each of the next five seasons, St. Ignatius turned the corner by winning three of its final four league games in 2018, then won a share of the WCAL crown in 2019 by stopping Serra on a late two-point conversion attempt at a jam-packed J.B. Murphy Field.

The 2022 Wildcats went 6-7, including 3-4 in WCAL play. They reached the CCS Division II Championship game, but lost 21-14 to Bellarmine. It marked the program’s fifth appearance in a section title game under Regalia; SI lost Division III championship games to Aptos in both 2013 and 2014.

St. Ignatius head coach John Regalia signals to his team during a West Catholic Athletic League football game against Riordan in San Francisco on Nov. 4, 2022. | Courtesy Paul Ghiglieri

The next St. Ignatius head football coach will inherit major returning talent. Quarterback Soren Hummel, running back Jarious Hogan and middle linebacker Sui Gallegos-Hunkin all started as sophomores. Fellow sophomores Jake Boyden and Chase Wiley made impact plays in the secondary as the season progressed, and sophomore tackle John Mills holds an offer from Washington.

Key juniors on the 2022 roster included Dash Crispen, Atticus Moustakas and Junior Tutoe, who combined to anchor a defense that allowed just 14.5 points per game in its final eight outings. Running back Cameron Jones, tight end Con McKeon and wide receivers Moe Barnum and Pierce St. Geme all experienced success in their junior seasons as well. The 2022 JV unit, spearheaded by freshman quarterback Caedon Afsharipour, went 8-1, losing only to Serra and beating St. Mary’s-Stockton 41-7.

“In his time as a coach, the young men and women on and off the field experienced a true mentor-teacher-coach,” Athletic Director John Mulkerrins said of Regalia in a press release. “He taught his players the values of commitment, the benefits of hard work, and the love of football.”

Regalia will continue in his role as a math teacher at the school. The press release also stated that he will also “continue his commitment to the football program supporting the new head coach, the coaching staff, and most importantly, the student-athletes who play football, and other sports, at St. Ignatius.”

“I think that Coach Regalia is one of the most influential leaders in the St. Ignatius community in the last three decades,” said Kerry Crowley, who played running back, graduated in 2012 and now works for The Athletic. “His commitment to shaping not only great football players, but great leaders as well, had an indelible impact on my life, and the lives of everyone who played for them.”

“He always held his players and coaches to the highest of standards on and off the field,” said Dom Truoccolo, who, like Crowley, played running back and graduated in 2012. “He taught us tons about the Xs and Os, and, for me, opened the door to the love of the game.”

“The most important things I took away from him was how to have pride in tradition and build a legacy upon it,” added Truoccolo, who was on the Wildcats’ coaching staff for five years after playing in college at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. “That work continues long after graduation.”

Regalia was contacted by The Standard for comment.