Culver City Observer -

BREAKING NEWS:Dave Sanchez Dies


February 20, 2013


Dave ‘Coach’ Sanchez Dies

Observer Staff report with excerpts from reporter Cheryl Giraud’s story in August, 2012

Dave “Coach” Sanchez died at 12:15 Wednesday afternoon according to reports by his Sister Vicki.

According to postings by his sister, “Our beloved Dave finally left this earth. Those of us who were here were able to be with him at the end. It was a blessing that he passed before he suffered. Coach wanted to hear only positive things during these last several days with him, so I will say that while our hearts are aching because we won't see his smile any more, he has given us so many gifts during his life and his death that we would be selfish to ask for more.”

Sanchez was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer that metastasized to the liver in February of 2012.

Culver City High “Coach of the Year” Dave Sanchez, revered for his soccer coaching expertise for the Centaur’s varsity boy’s team, served as the 2012 Fiesta La Ballona grand marshal.

In a phone interview last year Sanchez said, “I am tickled and honored to serve as grand marshal. It’s a dream come true. It’s something I never expected.”

2012 Fiesta Chair Mike Cohen commented on Dave’s passing, “I am saddened to hear the news. Dave was an inspiration to the entire Fiesta La Ballona Committee. He fought a valiant battle.

“He was a role model to me in the way he faced adversity, he shined a light on me and so many others.”

Sanchez, who graduated from UCLA in 1975 with degrees in math and teaching, is the father of five children, with his four sons and parents who live in Los Angeles, has been an avid sports fan of all things athletic from an early age.

“I am a true-blue sports fan.” Sanchez told the Observer last year. “I wanted to be a baseball player, basketball player and football player.”

But it was Sanchez’s entrée to soccer in the late 1960s while his father was stationed in Guatemala serving with the U.S. Army when he discovered an interest for the sport.

Army brat Sanchez was born in Monterey, California. Growing up, he was exposed to many different cultures living in a number of places such as Okinawa, Kansas and Indiana, yet the worldly Sanchez said he remained a sports fanatic no matter which city he resided.

“I lived in 17 houses in 21 years,” Sanchez said.

But it wasn’t until the 1980s when three of his kids fell in love with soccer, which confirmed his passion for the sport after so many years.

“My passion for the sport came through my kids while coaching them in the American Youth Soccer Organization,” Sanchez said.

With his love for sports, Sanchez was responsible for starting the athletic program at Culver Middle-School.

From there, with an inclination for teaching, Sanchez’s first position at Culver City High was teaching algebra as a long-term substitute.

The self-proclaimed math nerd, who has been with the Culver City School District for 20 years, also taught calculus for 10 years at Culver High.

Along the way, Sanchez became assistant varsity soccer coach in 1997 for the Centaurs, but then eventually took over as head coach for Coach Dwayne at the high school.

With an impetus toward teamwork and intrinsic motivation and love of the sport, Sanchez laid the groundwork for molding a team culture when he began coaching the boy’s varsity soccer team in 2001.

With a philosophy that imparts team friendship, camaraderie, passion and appreciation for the game, Sanchez said it’s important to build life memories for the kids.

“It’s never about winning. That’s second,” Sanchez said with conviction. “I teach cooperative skills so kids can use it to deal with adversity.”

Sanchez and his wife Chevy had five sons. He was 59 years old.

Services are pending for this Saturday; more details will be posted on the Observer’s website at www.culvercityobserver.comas soon as they become available.


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