Former Chino High School coach Jim Rawls, who at one time coached the Cowboys’ baseball and football teams during the same season in 1974, died Sunday at his Mission Viejo home after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
“He was a huge influence in my life,” said David Mendes, who was coached by Mr. Rawls at Chino High. “Everyone respected him. He was just a good guy and I am sad that he is gone.”
Mr. Rawls, 76, worked as the Chino High junior varsity baseball coach in 1969, leading his team to a league champion.
He took over the varsity baseball program in 1970 from head coach Chuck Lotton and led the Cowboys to the 1970 and 1971 San Antonio League titles.
Three years later, he took over as the school’s football coach and won a league title in his first season.
After leaving Chino High, he coached wrestling at Ontario High and later had a successful run as the baseball coach at Garden Grove High School.
His Garden Grove teams advanced to the playoffs in each of Mr. Rawls’ 25 years as head coach.
Mr. Rawls retired from teaching in 2017, his daughter Lindsey wrote on a GoFundMe page in 2018 after her father was diagnosed with lymphoma and pancreatic cancer.
The page raised $19,895 for Mr. Rawls’ treatments. The goal was to raise $12,000.
“He coached for both myself and my sister’s softball teams growing up. After all those years, he finally retired last year in 2017 but there is no doubt that he has touched many lives through his teaching/coaching,” Lindsay wrote on the website. “My dad is my greatest role model and living far away from him while he is going through this has not been easy so this is my way of being there for my dad after all the years he has been there for me.” Mr. Rawls graduate from Edgewood High in West Covina and played baseball and football at the University of La Verne.
Funeral services have not been announced as of Champion press time Friday.
Mr. Rawls is survived by his wife, Sara; ex-wife Emilie Jo; daughters Lindsay, Allison, Zane and Ashley; and five grandchildren.