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Former Sunny Hills Soccer Coach Honored by National Hall of Fame

Former Sunny Hills Soccer Coach Honored by National Hall of Fame

Jeff Gordon (R), retired girls’ soccer coach at Fullerton’s Sunny Hills High School, is honored by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association at its Hall of Fame ceremony at the Historic Haymarket in Lincoln, Neb., on July 25, 2023. (Courtesy of Jeff Gordon)

Dan Wood

Dan Wood

8/11/2023

Updated: 8/11/2023

More than a year after his retirement as girls’ soccer coach at Fullerton’s Sunny Hills High School, honors continue to roll in for Jeff Gordon.
The latest entry on Mr. Gordon’s sparkling resume is induction into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA) Hall of Fame. It is fitting punctuation on a 36-year coaching career, which included 32 seasons at Sunny Hills.
Mr. Gordon was one of 39 men and women from across the United States feted at the July 25 induction ceremony at the Historic Haymarket in Lincoln, Nebraska.
“It was a pretty awesome experience, a first-class event,” Mr. Gordon told The Epoch Times. “The other coaches were from all different sports, big-time people from every state you could imagine.”
Mr. Gordon’s nomination came from the Southern California High School Soccer Coaches Association, according to Dave Dougherty, executive director of the NHSACA.
The organization, founded in 1967, is the oldest such association in the country, Mr. Dougherty told The Epoch Times. This year’s Hall of Fame class marked the 45th, bringing the total number of inductees to more than 1,000.
The National High School Athletic Coaches Association honors 39 men and women from across the United States at its Hall of Fame ceremony at the Historic Haymarket in Lincoln, Neb., on July 25, 2023. (Courtesy of Jeff Gordon)

The National High School Athletic Coaches Association honors 39 men and women from across the United States at its Hall of Fame ceremony at the Historic Haymarket in Lincoln, Neb., on July 25, 2023. (Courtesy of Jeff Gordon)

Mr. Gordon’s history is certainly Hall of Fame worthy. He spent four seasons as an assistant boys’ soccer coach at his alma mater, Brea Olinda, before arriving at Sunny Hills in 1990. Mr. Gordon worked as an assistant coach for two seasons under his father, Kenn Gordon, who had started the school’s boys’ and girls’ soccer programs in 1981, and then took over the girls’ team in 1992.
Over the next 30 years, until retirement in 2022, Mr. Gordon led the Lancers to 19 Freeway League championships, including seven undefeated league seasons, CIF championships in 2005, 2007, and 2019, and three CIF runner-up finishes.
Sunny Hills reached the CIF playoffs in all but one of the years Mr. Gordon was at the school, and he completed his coaching career with a record of 602–140–94. Named CIF coach of the year four times, Mr. Gordon also was state coach of the year in 2014.
“He had great relationships with the students,” Sunny Hills Athletic Director Paul Jones told The Epoch Times. “He was able to relate with the players and the parents, but also did a good job of holding everyone accountable.”
Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton, Calif., on Aug. 11, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton, Calif., on Aug. 11, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

An outstanding high school soccer player himself, and a member of Brea Olinda’s 1986 CIF championship boys’ team, Mr. Gordon developed a knowledge of the game that frequently created advantages for his teams.
“He could outcoach other coaches, out-scheme them, and his players always played hard, with character and class,” Mr. Jones said. “It was fun to watch him coach.”
Mr. Gordon, 54, stepped away from the Sunny Hills program to spend more time with his wife, Soon-ya, 14-year-old son, Aaron, and 12-year-old daughter, Adrienne. He’s now coaching Aaron’s baseball team and Adrienne’s club-soccer team.
The three other members of his family attended the Hall of Fame ceremony, and accompanied Mr. Gordon on stage at one point, making the experience even more special.
Jeff Gordon (2nd L), retired girls’ soccer coach at Fullerton’s Sunny Hills High School, is accompanied by his wife, son, and daughter at the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame ceremony at the Historic Haymarket in Lincoln, Neb., on July 25, 2023. (Courtesy of Jeff Gordon)

Jeff Gordon (2nd L), retired girls’ soccer coach at Fullerton’s Sunny Hills High School, is accompanied by his wife, son, and daughter at the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame ceremony at the Historic Haymarket in Lincoln, Neb., on July 25, 2023. (Courtesy of Jeff Gordon)

There was no Hall of Fame on Mr. Gordon’s mind when he began coaching.
“That’s not the reason you’re doing it,” he said. “I guess you could say it’s the icing on the cake.”
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Dan Wood

Dan Wood

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Dan Wood is a community sports reporter based in Orange County, California. He has covered sports professionally for some 43 years, spending nearly three decades in the newspaper industry and 14 years in radio. He is an avid music fan, with a strong lean toward country and classic rock.

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