Five years ago I was offered a chance to take on my dream job as the head football coach at Costa Mesa High School. I took over a program that had just come off back-to-back 1-9 seasons and had seen four coaches in as many years.
I once heard a radio personality talking about a college team that was in the same situation, refer to this as a, "program-killer." And, while there were tough bumps on the way to reviving the program, I'm happy to say that Costa Mesa Football is no longer dead. However, I will not be around to see the program thrive because I have been fired as head coach at Costa Mesa High School.
Principal Phil D'Agostino has made the decision to move forward in an attempt to hire an on-campus coach.
While we never got the elusive playoff win that this school has been chasing for years, I am proud of the work we did at The Costa Mesa High School. On the field we accomplished most of the goals we set in front of us. Three straight playoff appearances (2007-2009), back-to-back league championships (2007, 2008), falling just short of a third straight championship and even this year, taking a team that did not win a game as freshmen and finishing 14 points shy of a 7-3 record.
While I am proud of the boys for their on-the-field progress, I am most proud of what these boys have done in our community. We mentored Pop Warner teams, we volunteered at jog-a-thons, we "battled the brush", we put our feet to work in the ALS walk to support an assistant coach's sister, we volunteered at a soup kitchen, we wrapped Christmas gifts and handed out presents at an event for low-income families, we shaved our heads for Edison football player Luke Gane and when one of our own was diagnosed with leukemia we held "Cutting for Carlos."
We got out in the community, not because we wanted recognition, but because you should always give back to the community that has helped you.
And while I'm sad to be leaving a program that I love so much I feel confident that I have left the program in a better situation than when I started. Last season out of 70 varsity and junior varsity football players we had 15 players with above a 3.0 grade-point average and nobody academically ineligible at the end of the football season.
Thanks to generous donations from Costa Mesa United we were able to construct a team room with a movie-theater seating, a war room for the coaches to game plan in and a state-of-the-art weight room that some colleges would envy. On the field the Mustangs will have the fastest, strongest, most athletic and most disciplined team than my previous teams. The next three years should be good for whoever takes over.
I want to thank the people who made this possible for me. First and foremost, I'd like to thank God for hearing my prayers five years ago and answering them.
I thank my wife Veronica for her unending love and support for every decision I made. Also, for biting her lip when it was the wrong decision. My children, Alexis, Nessa and JJ, your love for me and the program made it easier when I had to miss your events.
To the parents, thank you for entrusting your kids to us, my hope is that when you saw them leave the program they were better young men.
Tim Postiff, thank you for taking a chance on a 28 year-old with no head coaching experience and being a great support system.
Kirk Bauermeister, thank you for being a mentor that I could go to all the time.
Frank Albers, we spent a lot of hours together building this. I will miss our late-night text messages and early morning IHOP breakfasts discussing what the next step for the program would be.
To the teachers and staff members at Costa Mesa High School that I had the privilege of getting to know, thank you for all the support you have given this program. It is through a combined effort that this school, and its football program have really turned around.
Also, to the student body at Costa Mesa High School, watching you guys fill the bleachers as Mesa Maniacs on Friday nights was awesome, keep the Mesa spirit strong.
My assistant coaches, the tireless effort you gave can never be repaid, we do this work because we love the kids and I'm so lucky to have had you guys along for the ride.
Last, but not least, to the football players past and present, you never gave less than 100% and when times got tough, you dug down deep and fought for that "One More Yard!" I will forever love you guys and you will always be family.
Remember always, FIGHT ON!
— Jeremy Osso