In a move as sudden as it was stunning, Dan Carmazzi informed his Jesuit High School football team on Wednesday that he is stepping down as head football coach to accept the position as co-athletic director at Christian Brothers, his alma mater.
Starting this summer, Carmazzi will teach and work as an assistant coach at CBS.
The longest tenured current coach in the greater Sacramento region known for his team's steady play, quarterback excellence and scholars as much as his classy demeanor, Carmazzi returns to his roots. He was a star quarterback for the Falcons in 1970. CBS is also where Carmazzi got his coaching start under Dick Sperbeck in the mid 1970s after graduating from UC Davis. Carmazzi has long maintained that he has always had a fondness for CBS. In the early 1980s, he looked into becoming the Falcons head football coach (as of this posting, we traded text messages with Carmazzi; we will talk to him later in the day and have a story in the print version of The Bee on Thursday).
Carmazzi took over at as head coach at Jesuit in 1981 after a four-year stint as an assistant to Red Smith. Carmazzi became a giant in regional coaching, winning 230 games with 17 playoff teams, nine league championship clubs, five City Championship appearances, two City titles and two Sac-Joaquin Section Division I titles. The only other regional coaches to win 200-plus games like Carmazzi are Max Miller of Cordova, Rio Americano and Johnson, Ed Lombardi of Elk Grove and Sheldon, Mike Alberghini of Grant and Frank Negri of Foothill and Natomas. Only Alberghini is still active as a head coach.
Said Carmazzi in a statement released by CBS, "I would like to thank Lorcan Barnes and Mary Hesser for extending to me the opportunity to return to Christian Brothers. I will always have tremendous respect for, and be grateful to, the Jesuit High School community for educating my sons and giving me the opportunity to teach and coach these past 35 years.
"But a part of me has always wanted to return to Christian Brothers. Christian Brothers provided me with an excellent education and athletic experience under the guidance of such outstanding teacher coaches as Dick Sperbeck, Ron Limeberger, Jack Witry, Dave Hoskins, Mel Fontes, John Zupan and Ralph Villanueva. This is a good time for me personally to make this transition and affords me the opportunity to give back to the school."
And CBS President Lorcan Barnes in a statement, "Bringing Dan on board is an investment in excellence that will serve our students well for years to come."
Carmazzi led Jesuit to its first playoff berth in 1988, a team quarterbacked by Greg Harcos, now the school's longtime varsity basketball coach. Carmazzi coached three of his sons at Jesuit in receiver Matt and quarterbacks Gio and Dominic, and he helped groom three eventual NFL quarterbacks in Ken O'Brien (fall of 1977), son Gio (1994) and J.T. O'Sullivan (1996). O'Sullivan, who went on to set passing records at UC Davis and played 11 NFL seasons, led Jesuit to the program's first D-I title in 1995 as a junior.
Jesuit endured seasons of 5-5, 4-6, 4-6 and 5-6 in the past four campaigns in the rigorous Delta River League that included area powers in Folsom and Pleasant Grove. The Marauders lower-level football teams have produced championship teams in recent seasons, generating high hopes for this fall for a team led by standout quarterback Thomas Sperbeck.
Jesuit athletic director Chris Fahey said in a statement released by the school, "We wish Dan well as he returns to his alma mater to finish his career. It was our expectation that Dan would return as our head football coach (this fall), so his decision came as a surprise. But we understand Coach Carmazzi's reasons for seeking new challenges and we respect the decision he has made."
Jesuit has not formally announced Carmazzi's replacement.
- By Joe Davidson
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson