Rich Lawson, the longtime Malibu High School head football coach, has stepped down after nine seasons on the job. Replacing Lawson is Santa Monica High School product Ray Humphrey, who hopes to build on Lawson’s success with returning stars like running back Miles Edman.
By Kevin Connelly/Special to The Malibu Times
Renowned Green Bay Packers head coach and NFL Hall of Famer Vince Lombardi once said, “Football is a game of clichés, and I believe in every one of them.”
It is not known if former Malibu High School head football coach Rich Lawson lived by this mantra, but he did satisfy one sports cliché in leaving the Malibu football program on top, retiring after a successful season at the helm and making way for Ray Humphrey, a former defensive coordinator at Santa Monica High School, to assume the head coaching role.
After nine years as head coach of the Malibu Sharks football team, which dates back to the inception of the program, Lawson finished the 2004 season with a 10-2 record, his final game as head coach being a 28-20 loss to Linfield Christian of Temecula, Calif. in the second round of the CIF-SS Division XIII playoffs.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Daily News, Lawson, who was unable to be reached by the time of this story, said, “I’m sure I’ll be back at some point, but everybody needs to take a step back sometimes and it’s that time for me.” Lawson, who has three children and teaches in Malibu, also said he was looking forward to getting in more surfing time, a lifelong passion of his.
Lawson’s replacement, Humphrey, 35, has 12 years of experience as a coach of football, basketball and track at Santa Monica High School, where he was also a special education instructor. This is the Santa Monica resident’s first stint as a head coach, but he said he was ready to build off the momentum of Lawson’s successful 2004 campaign.
“This is a good choice for me as a first time head coach. It is a smaller, more intimate school with great kids who seem to have great work ethics.”
Different from Lawson’s program last year, Humphrey has begun a strict weight-training program in which he asks his team to show up before class at 6:30 a.m. “I’m going to bring a lot of intensity into the weight room,” said Humphrey, who will also coach the shot put at Malibu High School in the football off-season. “I like to look to [USC head football coach] Pete Carroll’s philosophy of ‘bigger, faster, stronger’ as a way to do things.”
In response to the new program, Miles Edman, junior running back and likely candidate for the starting running back position in the 2005 season, said, “It’s been hard to get used to getting up so early. It’s been a slow transition.
[Coach Humphrey’s program is] not a joke,” Edman added, although, he said he appreciated the program as he understands the importance of strength in football.
“I’m going to miss coach Lawson,” Edman continued. “He was a good coach and he connected with the players, but [coach Humphrey] is the same way and he is very straightforward about what he wants us to do.”
Edman, who rushed for 1,593 yards and 12 touchdowns on 211 carries last season, said he believes his team can improve upon their 10-2 record in spite of losing key players to last year’s team to graduation like leading rusher Andrew Heric (1,991 yards, 17 touchdowns). Not a bashful young man, Edman listed 2,500 yards and 30 touchdowns as his personal goals for the 2005 season and a 14-0 season finalized by a CIF championship as the team goal.
Another key player returning from the 2004 team is junior wide receiver Garrett Brizendine, who had three touchdowns to go along with team-high 255 yards receiving on 12 receptions. Brizendine also played defense, where he notched a team-high five interceptions in 2004.
With Edman and Brizendine possibly leading the way next year, Humphrey hopes to achieve what the running back set as his team goal, a CIF championship. Humphrey said you will see an in-between type of coach roaming the sidelines when his team begins play in early September. “I’m not a big yeller,” Humphrey said, “But I’m not exactly a laid back guy either.”