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Difference-maker: Al Vierra has worked with the youth in Santa Maria since 1972
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Difference-maker: Al Vierra has worked with the youth in Santa Maria since 1972

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Former St. Joseph High School coach Al Vierra, who was also the executive director of the Boys and Girls Club, was inducted into the Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table in 2010.

Al Vierra was grumbling about some of the coaching decisions being made at St. Joseph High School.

“My daughter said to me, ‘Instead of complaining, why don’t you do something about it?’” Vierra, laughing, told Brad Memberto of the Lompoc Record.

So Vierra did, and a distinguished career with St. Joseph athletics followed.

Vierra spoke with Memberto in May of 2010, days before being inducted into the Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table (NSBCART) Hall of Fame.

“I was surprised and pleased,” to learn he would be inducted into the NSBCART Hall, Vierra told Memberto. “I am very grateful.”

At the time if his induction, Vierra had worked with 10 of the 12 head football coaches that had been at St. Joseph at that time.

Vierra had been a coach or worked in some capacity at St. Joseph since 1972 at the time he was inducted into the NSBCART Hall.

When he was inducted, Vierra had served as the Director of Football Operations at St. Joseph.

Active as a member of the Kiwanis Club since 1969, Vierra chaired two committees for the United Way and was on the board of directors for SMOOTH, SMAT and the Salvation Army. He also worked for seven years with P.L.A.Y. (People For Leisure and Youth).

Vierra graduated from Kaimuki High School in Honolulu, Hawaii. He played basketball and ran track there.

After graduating from high school in 1952, Vierra joined the Marines. He served three years and broke into coaching. Vierra coached a local Little League squad.

Vierra played football and basketball at Diablo Valley College, then transferred to Cal State Hayward where he played for the school’s first basketball team.

He moved to Santa Maria in 1969 and quickly became engrossed in youth programs and athletics.

Vierra served at the Santa Maria Boys & Girls Club for more than 30 years, including 20 as the executive director.

He served as a coach and a member of the board of directors for the Orcutt American and Orcutt National Little Leagues in the 1970s, helped found the Orcutt Youth Basketball League in 1972 and helped start the first youth tackle football league in 1971.

Besides helping the latter two leagues get off the ground, Vierra served as a coach in both.

One year he helped coach a fledgling Orcutt youth basketball team, which had players from two schools.

“It was one of my favorite times coaching,” Vierra told Memberto. “We played 18 games and lost all 18, but no kid quit and no kid missed practice. We must have been doing something right.”

Vierra coached football and basketball at St. Joseph. When he was done coaching, Vierra ran the score clock at St. Joseph basketball games and the scoreboard at school baseball games.

“St. Joseph just gave me an opportunity to be around kids, and it’s been great,” Vierra said to Memberto.

“You feed off their energy. I get home after a game and my wife asks me where did I get all this energy.”

Vierra has continued to be a mainstay at St. Joseph High School, attending various athletic events and the weekly Round Table luncheon, pitching in when he can.


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