At Corona del Mar (CdM), balancing academics and athletics is part of life. Early releases from fifth period are common, and most PA announcements late in the day come from the athletic director. Many teachers have taken on the additional responsibility of coaching a sport. Rarely does the reverse happen.
Varsity football coaches Dan O’Shea and Kevin Hettig are tackling a new challenge this year. Although the associate head coaches are heading into their fifth year of coaching football at CdM and each has taught before, this is the first year they have faced an academic class full of Sea Kings. Both relish the opportunity to help students succeed in academics and athletics.
Mr. O’Shea’s career in education began when he quit his decade-long job in the banking industry to follow his dream of teaching high school students and coaching football. He earned his California teaching credential in 2003. That same year, he began teaching at St. Anthony High School in Long Beach. Mr. O’Shea moved to Corona del Mar in 2011, leaving the classroom to coach football. However, as much as he loves the sport, his other passion is teaching. This year, he decided to add teaching U.S. History to his duties as coach. He hopes this is no short-term change.
“I would never do anything else,” he says of his teaching career.
Associate head coach Mr.Hettig is also starting his first teaching job at CdM. Along with Mr. O’Shea, he has worked with the varsity football team for five years. Mr. Hettig began teaching at Trabuco Hills High School in Mission Viejo in 2006, where he taught Economics. While at Trabuco, he also coached football and baseball. At CdM, he is excited to be teaching 8th grade Physical Education while simultaneously coaching varsity football. When asked how he likes balancing the two, Hettig said he has “always wanted to do both,” and is “just happy to be at CdM.” He has dreamed of being a teacher and a coach since his college years, and has always loved working with kids.
During their years together on the CdM football staff, Mr. Hettig and Mr. O’Shea have been part of a string of successful seasons. Both served as coordinators during the 16-win, undefeated state championship season in 2013 and were part of the record-setting 30-game winning streak that overlapped with the state championship. The focus, passion and dedication that has sustained such consistent excellence will now benefit a wider group of students within the CdM community, providing more learning opportunities to both the students and the new teachers.
Both coaches are excited to work with kids in the classroom and on the field. Though they are still learning to balance the busy schedule of being a full-time teacher and a coach, they hope to keep winning on and off the field.