Robert “Bob” Lawrence can’t stay away from Cabrillo High School.
Even though his days as an English teacher, administrator, athletic director and CIF winning boys water polo coach have come to an end, the 67-year-old is still seen assisting in the press box and announcer’s booth at different CHS games.
Lawrence has an unwavering loyalty toward the Vandenberg Village campus, and that school will induct him into the Cabrillo Hall of Fame on August 4 at the CHS cafeteria.
Over the past two years, Lawrence watched his longtime friend Dave Long get inducted into the Hall of Fame by Long’s sons, while Lawrence spoke to people about Long’s resume.
He also sat in on the ceremony to watch the sons of the late Ed Knowles and Bob Boyer introduce their dads to the Hall, while Lawrence was also sharing stories about his friendship with both men.
Cabrillo baseball great Danny Duffy was introduced to the hall by Lawrence during his time of getting placed in the school’s Hall of Fame.
Now Lawrence will have his opportunity to join his fellow CHS coaches and friends — where his two sons, Matt and Brett, will induct him.
“The last few years I spoke on behalf of Bob Boyer and Danny Duffy. I was hoping it would happen (getting inducted),” Lawrence said. “When Danny was inducted, he actually said ‘I’m embarrassed that I’m going in but you’re not!’ But now I’m going and I’ll have my two sons induct me.”
Lawrence taught English for 33 years at CHS, working his way to the head of the campus’s English department.
Once the Cal Poly Pomona graduate dove into coaching, he said one man was instrumental in taking him under his wing. That man became one of his closest friends: The late Bob Boyer.
Known as the two “Bob’s” on campus, Boyer and Lawrence turned Cabrillo into an aquatics dynasty — capturing multiple league championships and making deep CIF Southern Section playoff runs. Lawrence, though, chooses to give Boyer all the credit for being the mastermind behind Cabrillo’s pool dominance.
“Bob started a great program,” Lawrence said. “He was my mentor and one of my best friends.”
Lawrence’s last season of coaching boys varsity water polo ended with some new jewelry on his fingers: A CIF section championship ring.
He coach an experienced and driven 1996 boys water polo team that went on to win the section championship.
Lawrence recalls how focused that group of Conquistadores were.
“We had a lot of speed and they were coachable. But the previous year, there was disappointment on their end. They came back with total devotion,” Lawrence said. “They were a great group of young men. Winning CIF takes a lot of luck and talent. But this group wasn’t going to be denied.”
He also recalls one excited former athletic director in Don McIntyre the moment the Conqs claimed the CIF title.
“Don dove into the pool after we won at UC Santa Barbara,” Lawrence recalled.
One of those players on that team was Jeff Dacus, who is now coaching the newest crop of swimmers at CHS. Lawrence says Dacus still looks at his former coach as his primary mentor.
“Jeff has done a great job. He tells me that he hopes to be as hard-working as I was,” Lawrence said.
He cites another former player who will also be inducted by Lawrence into the hall: Class of 1995 graduate Derek Argel, who died in a fatal car crash while serving his country in the Air Force during Operation Iraqi Freedom in June of 2005. Lawrence remembers the quality of person his former player was.
“Incredible young man,” Lawrence said. “What a physical specimen he was. He actually wasn’t the most athletic. But he was one of the kindest and most hard-working people I’ve met. I’m thankful for his service.”
Lawrence remains active in not just CHS related activities, but in his own life. He’s an avid cyclist who says he logs 5,000 miles a year on his bike.
Lawrence isn’t stunned with how consistent Cabrillo continues to be in the pool.
“I’m not surprised at all. I know how hard all those coaches work,” Lawrence said.
Anyone who is interested in attending the 4th annual CHS Hall of Fame dinner can purchase tickets for $20 through phone call or email. Presale tickets are available until Aug. 1. Tickets become $25 at the door the night of the event.
For more information on obtaining a ticket, contact CHS athletic director Dan Troup at (805) 478-3929 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.