With five seconds left on the clock in Pierce College’s last game of the year against Antelope Valley College on November 7, 2009, kicker Steven Sandoval made a 20 yard field goal as time expired to give Pierce a, 44-41 win.
This win gave Pierce their first conference championship since 1985.
Players and coaches ran on the field, and one of these coaches was assistant head coach Jason Sabolic.
“It was one of the best moments in my life,” said Sabolic. “An amazing feeling for everyone involved from the players to the Pierce program.”
Now in his eighth year coaching at the junior college level, Sabolic has helped head coach Efrain Martinez and Pierce football become constant winners.
“Jason Sabolic makes me a better coach since he’s been on my staff,” said Martinez. “He has a lot of responsibilities for this team and he does everything for me to help us win.”
Sabolic was a dual sport athlete in both high school and college as he played football and baseball.
“Baseball was my first love, but being part of a football team is like family and is why I love the game,” said Sabolic.
He was an All-Conference player at both sports at El Camino Real High School, were he won the schools only city championship.
“Being on TV as a high school player at the LA Coliseum was an experience I will never forget,” said Sabolic.
While in his junior year at Occidental College, Sabolic went to play professional baseball for his home country Croatia in the fall of 2001.
“I felt like a movie star out their while I was playing,” said Sabolic. “Signing autographs, being in the news after every win, and just being a professional ball player was just a dream come true for me.”
Sabolic started his coaching career in 2000 as El Camino’s offensive line coach.
“I’ve always wanted to be a coach and to think I got a chance to coach the team I played for in high school was just amazing,” said Sabolic.
Being a son of former junior college player and a current coach now was what got Sabolic to seek out being a part of football in some shape or form.
“My father was a big influence on me playing sports, and wanting to become a coach,” said Sabolic. “He was the best coach I have ever had, and I wanted to be just like him.”
After three years at El Camino, he moved on to join Martinez and his coaching staff at Pierce in 2003 as an offensive line and running back coach.
“I wanted to surround my team with great coaches and people and Sabolic was the perfect fit for what I had planned,” said Martinez.
In 2005, Sabolic went on to coach at Valley College, until later returning back to Pierce in 2008.
“Martinez wanted me to come back and help him win,” said Sabolic. “The head coaching situation at Valley was not a good situation, so it was the right decision for me to return back to Pierce and coach.”
Aside from being a coach, Sabolic also is a teacher at both El Camino high school and Pierce College.
“Being a teacher is my main profession, and I enjoy it the upmost being able to educate students on the subject I love,” said Sabolic.
This subject that he is speaking of is chemistry, which was his favorite subject in school according to Sabolic.
“I see myself as a mad scientist during the day, but when I get onto the field for practice or a game I see myself as an intense coach,” said Sabolic.
Sabolic teaches chemistry at El Camino, and is a health and a physical education teacher at Pierce.
“Getting students interested in science is pretty interesting to me,” said Sabolic. “Seeing them learn and trying to get them to enjoy the subject is what I love to do.”
According to Sabolic, being a teacher on and off the field is what makes him happy of what he has done so far in his life.
“Being a coach allows me to be a teacher, a mentor, and a father figure,” said Sabolic. “Football means the world to me because I get to coach young student athletes and mold them into men.”