Greg Luna, athletic director at South Pasadena High School (SPHS) for the past five years, has been removed from his position.
Luna Wednesday confirmed his removal as athletic director (AD) at the High School. He was notified of the change last October and initially appealed the school’s decision because it’s considered a teaching assignment, he said. But he soon realized that the school’s administration was committed to go in a different direction, so he acquiesced.
“During the past five years it’s been my pleasure to have served as the Athletic Director at SPHS,” Luna said in an email that he sent to all the coaches at the High School as well as colleagues. Luna furnished a copy the email to The Review.
“I’ve been fortunate to work alongside many wonderful coaches and have witnessed impressive accomplishments by Tiger student-athletes. I firmly believe in the rich value that competitive athletics adds to the school culture and especially to individual students.”
Luna will remain as the AD until the last day of the school year, and then return to his full-time job as a high school history teacher, he said.
“Unfortunately, I will not be returning as AD the next school year,” he said in the email. “The SPHS Administration informed me that they will be moving in a different direction at the end of this school year. Although I’m dissapointed with the decision, I respect the need for the SPHS Administration to work with an AD that will execute their vision of an athletic program. Moving forward, please be assured that I will continue to carry out my duties with the same energy and proficiency until the end of my assignment. I will continue to support your coaching, instruction, and mentorship of SPHS student-athletes.”
Superintendent of School Dr. Geoff Yantz said they want to build on the athletic program Luna has built. “We greatly appreciate Mr. Luna’s contributions to the SPHS athletic program,” Yantz said in an email to The Review. “He has provided a solid foundation for the next athletic director to take the program to the next level.” SPHS Principal Janet Anderson was quoted in the school newspaper, The Tiger, which reported the story first, that the school wants to build on the “great programs we already have in Athletics.”
Meanwhile, Luna said the administration was clear in its desire to move in a new direction.
“The administration just wanted to go in a different direction” Luna said in a telephone interview with The Review Wednesday afternoon. “We have some great coaches and some terrific athletes. In fact, we’ve stole some coaches from other programs. I am proud of our coaches and our student-athletes. Very proud.”
One of the highlights of Luna’s tenure has been the So Pas track & field program with its 10-straight championships. Furthermore, the women and girls soccer programs have been highly successful along with water polo and girls tennis. But the basketball, football and baseball programs have struggled, Luna acknowledged.
An internal job posting was sent out to SPUSD faculty Wednesday afternoon that will launch the search for Luna’s replacement. However, Luna said five years ago he was the only applicant that applied.
“They may have to outside the district,” he said. “In the end, we want what’s best for the kids. We all do.”
Stay tuned to the continuing story as it develops in the print edition of The Review and our website.