Former BVH coach receives honor after decades of service


Provided by BVH football Instagram

Former BVH football coach Gregory Raby receives the Assistant Coaches Award on Feb. 3, 2020 after his 44 years of athletic service in the Sweetwater Union High School District. It was later publicized on April 21 by the BVH football Instagram account.

Isaac Lozano, Arts and Cultures Editor

Gazing at the camera, he clutched the metal plaque tenderly between his palms. In the sunlight, he looked to family and friends sitting patiently from afar — after 44 years of coaching, Coach Raby paused to smile. 

On Feb. 3, Bonita Vista High (BVH) Football Defensive Coordinator, Linebacker Coach and substitute teacher Gregory Raby, referred to as “Coach Raby” by staff and students, was awarded the Assistant Coaches Award by the San Diego High School Sports Association for his decades of service as a high school sports coach in the San Diego California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) region. The BVH football Instagram publicized the award on April 21 to a positive community reception.

Raby was nominated by BVH Metro Conference President and incoming CIF Commissioner Joe Heinz and BVH Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Tyler Arciaga. A panel of judges from across the county reviewed over 100 applications for the award and held the 32nd Annual All Star Recognition ceremony at Marina Village to honor Raby as the sole recipient.

“I remember I was down at the district office picking up my check one day and then Joe Heinz called me and told me that I had won the award,” Raby said. “I was very, very moved by that. It’s quite an honor.”

Raby believes he received the award due to his longevity as a high school coach and teacher who organized sports events and helped formulate curriculum for the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD). 

“I have been an assistant coach for over 40 years,” Raby said. “[Also serving] as a teacher, I brought geography [courses] into the district [and] I was involved in a lot of selection of textbooks. I think it’s a combination of [my] athletic [involvement] and achievements as a teacher. It’s part of giving back to your community through your teaching and your coaching.”

Raby’s legacy began during high school where he was encouraged by his football coaches to pursue his dreams to be a teacher and football coach. Raby received his teaching credentials at San Diego State University and began teaching social studies and coaching football at Mar Vista High in 1976. 

In 1980, he transferred to Southwest High where he continued teaching and coached various sports. There he met retired BVH Head Football Coach Carl Parrick, who stayed by his side for 32 years as a fellow coach in the South Bay region.

“We never had any arguments or anything; he was very loyal and knowledgeable. He really understands the game of football. He could coach any position. When you’re together that long and year after year, especially coaching high school football because a lot of [coaches] don’t last very long together, [it’s] really nice,” Parrick said.

Throughout the late 80’s and early 90’s, Raby coached at Chula Vista High with his wife. He became known for his motivational speeches before football games, which evolved into a tradition throughout his coaching career.

“[It] was called the ‘circle of courage.’ We would go into the wrestling room and the whole team would sit in a circle where they had a candle for each player. [Then] we would do a pregame speech in there; sometimes I would do it [and] sometimes parents [would] do it, [but] it was a tradition that we had for a long time,” Raby said.

Then in 1992, he began coaching at BVH where he taught Physical Education (PE) and was Head Football Coach until 2012, a few years before Arciaga assumed the position. As one of Raby’s former students, Arciaga notes Raby’s “fiery” persona and “intense” dedication to his students.

“Coach Raby has always been a fiery coach. He has toned it down a bit over the last twenty years, but he is still fiery and is an incredible public speaker. His locker room speeches, pre-game speeches and banquet speeches are always second to none. If you aren’t fired up after hearing Coach Raby talk, you probably don’t have a pulse,” Arciaga said.

Ultimately, Arciaga and Parrick believe Raby’s loyalty and passion are a reflection of his legacy and the basis for his award. 

“He has such a passion for everything he does. Whether it’s teaching in the classroom, coaching on the football field or with his family, he has a passion for life. You don’t get that out of a lot of people [so] no one’s more deserving than coach Raby of any kind of recognition,” Parrick said.

Raby believes the award highlights his lifetime contributions to high school sports and the “honor” of being recognized as a coach from the South Bay community.

“When you look at the football coaches that have been nominated [for the award], they’re all the greatest coaches in the history of San Diego high school football. Just to be mentioned [with their] names [is] very humbling. I get to stand alongside [them] as someone who gave back to the game of football,” Raby said.