Patrick Walsh, the Serra High head football coach who was among the leaders of a successful effort to ensure high school sports could safely resume in California during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been named Cal-Hi Sports’ State Coach of the Year, but not just for his off-the-field leadership.
“The Padres went 5-0 in their games, posted two statement wins and Walsh also is the coach who has been to the CIF state finals for three of the past five years,” CalHiSports.com states.
Walsh was among the central figures in the Let Them Play CA movement that called on the state to lift the nation’s toughest pandemic restrictions on sports. The grassroots coalition of tens of thousands of coaches, athletes and parents gathered data from states that had been playing to show that it could be done safely, and also held rallies and entered into legal battles. The efforts ultimately led to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration allowing youth sports competition to continue with modifications.
Aside from Walsh’s impassioned leadership in that coalition, his actions on the field played a significant role in earning the State Coach of the Year honor, according to Cal-Hi Sports, which noted his teams have won five CIF Central Coast Section titles in the last eight years and three CIF NorCal regional titles in five years.
“Even if none of his passionate off-the-field work wasn’t known or he just followed along with the crowd during the pandemic shutdowns, it could easily have been time to get Patrick his place in the spotlight as State Coach of the Year regardless of any other factors,” Cal-Hi Sports said.
Read the publication’s full report on Walsh’s accomplishments here.