Mike Warren, a longtime football coach, athletic director and educator for several Central Coast high schools and colleges, passed away suddenly at his Goleta home on Sunday morning. He was 76.
He is survived by his wife Nancy, son Kevin, and daughter Jennifer Foster, as well as by six grandchildren. Services are pending.
Warren, a football star for the Glendale High Class of 1962, was recruited to play as a defensive back and linebacker for UCSB. He wound up serving as a Gaucho co-captain before graduating in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in history. He also earned a master’s degree in education and administrative services from Cal Poly.
He returned to Glendale in 1969 to help coach football at Hoover High but soon returned to the South Coast as the head coach at Carpinteria High School. He guided the Warriors to a record of 33-7 during four seasons at the school (1971-74) before accepting the head football coaching job at Lompoc High.
Warren set a school record for coaching wins during his 10 years with the Braves, going 94-28-3 from 1975 to 1984. The mark was since broken by Robin Luken. Warren guided Lompoc to eight league championships as well as to the CIF-Southern Section championship game four consecutive seasons, from 1977 to 1980.
He left Lompoc to lead UCSB’s revival of intercollegiate football. The Gauchos, who had originally dropped the sport in 1971, compiled a record of 18-11 during his three years (1986-88) as head coach. He capped his tenure at UCSB with an 8-2 season.
Warren turned over the team’s reins to his assistant coach and long-time friend, Rick Candaele, so he could return to Lompoc High as its athletic director and watch his son play for the Braves. Kevin Warren led Lompoc to the CIF Southern Section semifinals in both football and basketball, and then played centerfield for its 1993 CIF Division 2 championship baseball team.
Warren stepped down at Lompoc after 11 years as its A.D. and returned to the Santa Barbara area. He served for six years as a director of training and education for Computer Motion, Inc., a Goleta firm that pioneered robotic surgical systems.
He then took over as executive director of the Elings Park Foundation in late 2003 and ran the day-to-day operations at the local recreational complex for nearly three years.
Warren reentered the collegiate sports world in 2006 as the athletic director at Santa Barbara City College. He was in charge of classes in physical education, health and dance, as well as of the Vaqueros’ athletic teams.
He stepped down as A.D. in 2008 but continued working as an associate dean of educational programs until his retirement in June of 2010.
Warren’s involvement in local athletics continued until his final days as a member of the Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table.
He was also a faithful fan of his grandchildren, and most recently followed last year’s exploits of San Marcos High freshman Emma Foster. She was a starting outfielder for a Royals’ team that won the Channel League championship and advanced to the CIF-SS Division 5 semifinals.