By Saddleback College Sports Information
The Saddleback athletics department announced on Wednesday that head football coach Mark McElroy will be retiring after the spring semester. McElroy spent 22 seasons as the head coach of the program.
McElroy's accomplishments were numerous in his 22 years at the head of the program. He finished with a 158-74 overall record as the head coach, winning five division titles and appearing in the state title game in 2015. His 158 wins as head coach ranks No. 1 in Saddleback history, eclipsing the old mark of 148 set by Ken Swearingen (1976-94). McElroy set a program record by appearing in the post-season 13 straight years from 2001-2013. He ended up making the post-season in 18 of his last 19 seasons, finishing with a .681 winning percentage. His 18 post-season appearances since 2000 is the highest total for any program in the state.
In addition to the team accomplishments under McElroy, Saddleback had as many as 10 of his former players make it to the National Football League and had close to 400 athletes receive scholarships to four-year universities. He had three players earn the title California Community College Offensive Player-of-the-Year from 2011-2019. Furthermore, McElroy's teams were consistently among the leaders in California in academics, including a record 17 players named to the Southern California Football Association Scholar-Athlete Team in 2019.
McElroy was named the American Community College Football Coaches Association National Coach-of-the-Year in 2015. In addition, he was a Southern California Regional Coach-of-the-Year three times and a five-time conference coach-of-the-year.
"I am grateful to have spent 37 years teaching and coaching, with the last 29 years serving as a head coach," McElroy said. "After all of those years, it's now time to retire and invest my time into my wife and family. I enjoyed working with so many great people in the education field; colleagues, parents, coaches and players that enriched my life beyond measure."
McElroy started his coaching career as an assistant in 1983 at his alma mater, San Clemente High School. He coached at San Clemente until 1987, when he accepted a coaching position at Brigham Young University. At BYU he served as the Head JV Coach and an offensive assistant under Norm Chow, where the team went 19-7 and was the Western Athletic Conference Champions in 1989. While coaching at BYU, McElroy earned a Doctorate Degree in Physical Education. He then coached at Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, and helped the program to its best record in over 15 years with a 6-3 record. After his brief stint in the northwest, McElroy coached for one year at Capistrano Valley High School before landing the head coach position at San Clemente High School. He took over a program that had been winless in league play for six years and turned the program into an annual playoff contender. McElroy served as head coach at San Clemente for seven seasons, posting a 43-28-3 record and leading the Tritons to their first playoff appearance in 14 years (1993) and their first league championship in 17 years (1995).
McElroy is set to retire after the spring semester. Saddleback athletics plans to announce a new head football coach in the coming days.