Coach Sal Rodriguez


Christian Branch

Get to know one of Laguna Blanca’s most impressive coaches and one of Santa Barbara’s best basketball coaches. From playing, to coaching, to mentoring, Sal Rodriguez has done so much for this community, not just for the game of basketball.


What has been your favourite aspect of coaching the game of basketball?

“Seeing the improvement of the kids from day one to the end of the season. There is a lot of improvement that I see and that is what it’s all about.”


Most memorable moment from your coaching career?

“In the 1978, 1979 and 1980 seasons, I had an all-star team for the Boys and Girls Club, and we were the best team in Southern California. We were beating everybody.

All those kids went on the play at San Marcos High School, and in a two-year run, they went 55-2. I had those kids 6th, 7th, 8th grade. It was fun.”


Can you talk about your contribution with the Boys and Girls Club here in Santa Barbara?

“I joined the club in 1955. It cost me 25 cents. I got my first time job with them when I was in 9th grade, which was refereeing basketball games.

I went to college, came back, and became the athletic director and then the CEO. I never left, it’s the only job I’ve ever had.”


What made you want to coach in the first place?

“My high school coach was really good. I liked what he did. He took care of the kids.

It wasn’t about winning or losing, it was really about building character and I liked that.”


What is a side of coaching that is not so well known among those who don’t coach or have never coached?

“It’s easy to second guess a coach. You can sit in the stands and second guess a coach all you want. That’s the easiest thing in the world to do.

The important thing is that you see improvement in the kids. You’re trying to build character, and I always say that if a kid hangs out with me for a while, he’s gonna turn out to be a really good guy.”