Former Long Beach Poly football coach Raul Lara has accepted the head coaching job at Warren High, as confirmed by both Lara and the Bears’ athletic director on Tuesday morning. He’ll be introduced as the Bears’ new head man on Wednesday afternoon in a press conference on campus at 1:45 p.m.

“I wasn’t planning to do high school again so soon, but they really came after me,” said Lara. “After they showed me around the campus and I started seeing the potential that’s there, I started getting more and more interested. And I’m going to be able to bring some guys over from Poly, which will be nice.”

The marriage will be an interesting one—Lara was the head coach of the national power Jackrabbits for 13 years, winning five CIF-SS championships in the highest division, more than any other coach in school history. His overall record (142-30) stands as the second-highest win percentage of any coach in Poly’s 106-year history, and second most wins total. His Jackrabbits teams went 74-2 in the Moore League, and he coached 12 of Poly’s 40 Moore League champion squads.

Warren Athletic Director Russ Heicke said there were more than 75 applications for the job.

“He’s obviously a guy that can impact our program right away,” Heicke said.

Heicke said he was impressed by Lara’s interview.

“The biggest thing about him was that he was so humble. ... He never once mentioned his accolades or his records. He never talked about those things ... that was the thing that stuck out the most,” Heicke said.

The future of Warren football appears to have gotten brighter.

“My job is to hire the best coaches possible and in that vein I think we got the right guy, a guy dedicated to his craft. To say that I’m elated is an understatement,” Heicke said.

Heicke said final board approval would occur Tuesday evening.

Warren is 0-20 over the last two seasons, and haven’t had a winning season since 2009, when the Bears made it to the second round of the playoffs.

Slated to make the move with Lara are longtime Jackrabbits strength and conditioning coach Gregg Washington (who still trains several Poly NFL alums during the offseason), Jack Murray, and Brent Perez. Perez was the offensive line coach at Poly who helped mold the Jackrabbits’ front into the multiple look unit that led Poly to the 2012 CIF championship.

It’s not confirmed yet, but the plan is for both Murray and Perez to be on-campus coaches who also serve as teachers at Warren.

Sports Guy Mike Guardabascio has been writing professionally for a decade, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards and is the author of the historical book "Football in Long Beach."

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