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Difference-makers: Bob Boyer left lasting impact at Cabrillo

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No question, Lompoc and Cabrillo are rivals. But, at the end of the day, the teachers, coaches and staff members are colleagues working for a unified district with a goal to serve kids.

The life of Bob Boyer is a testament to that mission.

After Boyer lost his 19-month battle with brain cancer in 2013, the staff at Lompoc High dressed up in Cabrillo's black and gold to honor the former longtime athletic director, coach and teacher at Cabrillo.

Boyer filled various roles at Cabrillo High for 38 years, arriving at the school in 1970. He was a star swimmer at East High in Bakersfield before swimming at the University of Oregon.

At Cabrillo, Boyer coached swimming and water polo. He led teams to 30 league championships, including 16 titles in boys swimming, 13 in water polo and one in girls water polo. His swim teams produced 111 league champions and eight individual CIF championships. 

Boyer served as Cabrillo’s athletic director from 1997 to 2008. He was also a high school and college water polo official when he was working at CHS, where he also taught math. 

At East High, Boyer was an All-League football player and swimmer. He then competed at Bakersfield College, where he won state titles in the 50 and 100-meter freestyle — earning Junior College All-American status both years.

At Oregon, Boyer won the Pac-8 title in the 50-free in both seasons as a Duck.

Boyer was inducted into the Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table, the Cabrillo Hall of Fame and the East High Hall of Fame.

While battling brain cancer, Boyer was inducted into the East Hall of Fame in 2013. 

"As Bob and I stepped down from the podium to walk back to our table, the applause and screaming and yelling for Bob was incredible," Bob Lawrence said. "I'll never forget, as we're walking back, he puts his arm around me and screams into my ear, "They're standing for me, they're standing for me."

Lawrence and Boyer both helped develop the swimming and water polo programs at Cabrillo.

“He and I created an aquatics powerhouse at Cabrillo,” Lawrence said.

Boyer was posthumously inducted into the Cabrillo Hall of Fame in 2016. Lawrence was inducted into the Cabrillo Hall of Fame in 2017.

“We have people here at Lompoc, in classified, teachers and others, who have worked at both schools,” former Lompoc athletic director Don Cross told former Record reporter Brad Memberto shortly after Boyer died in 2013. “He was always very supportive of my program, he told me that was his role — to be in my corner.”

Boyer's story of coaching and teaching is highlighted by the Lompoc Record and Santa Maria Times as part of its 'Difference-makers' series, which aims to commemorate community members who have left a lasting impact on area athletics.