Rick Candaele
Rick Candaele of Carpinteria enters his 50th year as a football coach. (Bill Swing photo)

Rick Candaele is a football coaching lifer.

Candaele on Thursday was named as the new football coach at Carpinteria High, succeeding Ben Hallock, who is retiring after 30 years at the helm. He served as the defensive coordinator for Hallock the last two seasons and had a previous stint as a football assistant.

Candaele, a youthful 69, has plenty of energy and loads of experience. 

Rick Candaele has strong ties in the Carpinteria community.

Rick Candaele has strong ties in the Carpinteria community. (Bill Swing photo)

“I’m still proud to be in this profession,” he said at a Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon last season about his longevity in the coaching ranks. “I hope it lasts another… a little while, at least.”

Candaele’s football coaching experience goes back to the 1970s, when led programs at Nampa High in Idaho and Armijo High in Fairfield, Ca. He coached eight years with the UCSB club football team in the late 1980s and early 90s and served as head coach for three years. The school dropped football in 1991. He assisted at Carpinteria under the legendary Lou Panizzon and coached girls basketball at the school.

He moved on to Claremont College and was an assistant before taking the head job in 1995. He restored a struggling program and served as head coach for 15 years before retiring.  He got back in the high school game as an assistant at Ramona High in 2014 before returning to Carpinteria to join the Warriors coaching staff the following year.

“Carpinteria High School and Warrior families are incredibly fortunate to be the latest chapter in Coach Candaele’s rich and storied history in football,” Athletic Director Pat Cooney said. “Coach Candaele has strong ties with the community, passion for the profession of coaching and the important intangible ability to guide student athletes.”

Candaele has great memories of Carpinteria High. His son, Coley, and daughter, Kirsten, graduated from the school and were outstanding student athletes. Kirsten won 12 varsity letters as a Warrior and was named the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table High School Girls Basketball Player of the Year in 1994.

Coley quarterbacked the Warriors to three CIF football titles and won the 1990 State Meet title in the 1600 meters. He returned to his alma mater after college and coached the football team to a CIF championship in 2002. He moved on to Vista Murrieta High, where he’s enjoyed tremendous success as a football and track coach. 

Cooney is excited to have Rick Candaele running the football program.

“We have great expectations for the program and coach Candaele has some big Warrior shoes to fill,” he said. “Knowing coach Candaele and taking a glance at his credentials and goals, it is clear that, metaphorically, he has some really big Warrior feet.”

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.