Gary West is back at Cabrillo High School.
But this time, the longtime CHS boys basketball head coach – who spearheaded multiple Los Padres League championships – has been selected as the school’s athletic director for the 2019-20 school year, according to a news release from the Lompoc Unified School District Wednesday.
“Lompoc Unified School District is pleased to announce that Mr. Gary West has been selected as the new Cabrillo High School Athletic Director beginning in the 2019-20 school year,” the release stated. “Prior to his 15 years as high school counselor, Mr. West taught at the elementary, middle, and high school levels for over 20 years. Since 1982, he has actively been involved with coaching. He has guided students in football, basketball, and track and field at youth, high school, and collegiate levels. Mr. West is a father to three grown children that were actively involved in sports. As a parent of athletes, he understands the family aspect of sports and coaching.”
Cabrillo High Principal Isidro Carrasco said in the release that the school is excited to have West returning as athletic director.
"He brings a great wealth of experience and knowledge about students, coaching, and sports. His visionary and positive leadership will be a great asset at Cabrillo,” Carrasco said.
Girls basketball head coach Jared McCune offered his praise of the hire.
"I look forward to working with Gary. He has such a passion for whatever he is involved with. Gary loves helping young people succeed and obviously has great passion for sports, particularly basketball," McCune said by phone. "So I assume that will be great four our girls program. Gary will do a great job."
West was known for turning CHS boys basketball into a perennial area powerhouse, coaching the Conquistadores from the 2001-02 season to the 2015-16 campaign.
West’s last basketball team went 25-4 overall and finished a flawless 14-0 in the LPL and he produced three unbeaten league seasons during his tenure.
However, his time at CHS wasn't without controversy.
In 2006, West was the target of a complaint by parent Phillip Jones, father of former CHS player Jordan O'Bryne, who accused the coach of showing favoritism and displaying an abuse of authority as head coach. The district superintendent and state sports authorities found the complaint to be unsubstantiated, however.
In 2010, West was placed on paid administrative leave after being identified in an altercation with a CHS student who suffered cuts on his left forearm from broken glass. West returned to the team about a month later after the district completed its investigation of the incident. Former Superintendent Greg Kampf said at the time that “disciplinary steps” were taken.
During his last year as Cabrillo's boys basketball head coach, the 2015-16 season, West entered the locker room on the evening of Jan. 8, before the Conqs took on rival Lompoc High, to inform the team that he had been fired as head coach.
Then four nights later, supporters stood before the LUSD Board of Education asking that he be reinstated as the program's coach.
West was eventually reinstated two weeks after being fired and then resigned after the season.
After West stepped down at Cabrillo, he joined the men’s basketball coaching staff at Hancock College where he had a hand in the team's strength and conditioning program. He also served as a basketball official for girls and boys basketball games.