May 30, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Long-time Woodbridge coach John Halagan to step down after season

Woodbridge coach John Halagan addresses fans and players after Friday’s game. (Photos Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone)

Long-time Woodbridge boys basketball coach John Halagan, one of the most successful coaches in Orange County, announced after Friday’s Pacific Coast League that he will step down after the end of the season.

To see the photos, please click on the first photo

Assistant coach Steve Scoggin will take over next season.

Beckman won the game 56-37 to remain atop the PCL standings. Fans were asked to stay for a ceremony after the game and Halagan was not told it was going to be for him. Since it was also alumni night, boosters and school officials thought it was an appropriate time to make the announcement.

“We made that decision essentially early this year,” Halagan said. “I didn’t want to let on because I always wanted this to be about the team. I didn’t want to do a farewell tour. It’s about the team and taking the journey as a group and to try to get to play better basketball night in and night out and achieve something as we represent the school.

Athletic Director Rick Gibson praised Halagan’s contributions.

“It’s a huge loss,” Gibson said. “You can’t replace somebody like that. John is the character, the integrity and everything you want in a coach is there. It’s going to be a big loss, but good for him. And I know he will enjoy his time away. The golf game will be a little better.”

Councilman Anthony Kuo presented Halagan with a proclamation praising Halagan’s 27-year run as Woodbridge coach. Woodbridge Athletic Booster Club President Jay Lyon was also on hand. Under Halagan, Woodbridge won nine league titles, advanced to the playoffs in 21 of 27 seasons, winning the CIF 2A title in 1997.

“On a special night like this, it’s special, not because I got a certificate which I’m appreciative of, but what I really appreciate is and always felt a great sense of pride of with our program over the years is that we have people who want to come back and watch,” Halagan said. “It’s almost like every night is alumni night.”

One of the alumni players was Michael Scarlett, who graduated from Woodbridge in 2014 and helped the Warriors win a league title in his senior year.

“It’s tough to see him go, he’s just a staple of this gymnasium, this community and this school,” Scarlett said. “He’s upset all of us in many ways in the post-game stuff, but the amount of wisdom he instilled in all of us that we each carried….there is something powerful that brings me back to this place and I run him into him on the street and I think of the memories we shared and the years with the banner. I don’t think anyone has been doing it as well and as long as John Halagan.

“We will see what he does next. I’m not sure he will be able to stay out of the basketball gym. But we will miss those post-game talks.”

Halagan said he plans on continuing to teach one more year at Woodbridge beginning with the next school year.

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com