On a cold, rainy Friday afternoon, when most of his classmates were likely toasting the end of another week, Pat Schock was standing on the sideline at School of the Arts barking out instructions to the Lowell football team.
The former Cardinals tight end-defensive end is now a freshman at UC Santa Cruz, but has kept his connection with the Lowell program with his role as an assistant coach. Schock regularly takes the train up to The City for practices (Santa Cruz does not allow first-year students to have cars on campus) and vows he won’t miss a game this season.
“My main motivation is to give back to a program that did so much for me,” said Schock, who went to three straight Turkey Bowls playing for the Cardinals. “I know I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it.”
Schock is doing more than just showing up and hanging out with his former teammates. He has an informal title of assistant offensive coordinator under coach Danny Chan, while also helping out the defensive linemen. Lowell (4-0, 3-0 Academic Athletic Association) has outscored opponents 149-52 thus far this season, including a 34-12 win over Mills in which Schock called many of the plays.
“We call [our old players] ‘ghosts’ because we don’t want to dwell on the past, but really they’re like legends,” Chan said. “Once you’ve played here, you’re part of the Lowell family, and Pat’s a winner. He’s doing a great job.”
Chan himself is a Lowell grad — class of 1992 — and the Cardinals are one of many Bay Area programs relying on alums to lead their football teams. In The City, Sacred Heart Cathedral (John Lee) and St. Ignatius (Steve Bluford) have had success with one of their own coaching at their alma maters, while five Peninsula Athletic League programs are helmed by former players. That includes El Camino (4-2, 4-0 PAL Ocean), which is undefeated in league play despite losing coach Eric Jacobson (a former lineman at the school) to medical leave this season. Acting coach Mark Turner, a Colt in the early 1990s, has taken over and last week guided El Camino to a 14-6 win over Capuchino.
And like those examples, Schock has discovered that while his days of suiting up in pads may be behind him, coaching is a way to stay closely involved in the game he loves.
“To be able to come back and help out and be around all my friends has been great,” Schock said. “And if I can help them out a little bit, that’s even better.”
AAA soccer showdown: The Mission boys’ soccer team will put its 42-game Academic Athletic Association unbeaten streak on the line when it travels to Lowell today at 3:45 p.m. The Bears (11-7-2, 10-0) currently top the AAA’s X Division and have not lost a league game since falling 2-0 to Burton in the 2004 playoffs, but will face a stiff challenge against the Y Division-leading Cardinals (11-2, 9-0). The game will feature two of the league’s top scorers in Mission’s Edgar Gomez-Carreto (21 goals) and Lowell’s Anthony Clay (21).