Jose "Coco" Jarin Builds Bridges with LA Watts Summer Games

7on7 Competition Features 16 High Schools at 2012 LA Watts Games

Jose “Coco” Jarin knows the game of football. More importantly, Coco Jarin knows the game of life. As a coach with over 25 years of experience, Jarin has worked with the likes of former NFL player and Stanford Defensive Coordinator Dave Tipton, Sweetwater High School coaching legend Gene Alim, Mt. San Antonio College coaching guru Bill Fisk, who starred at USC, former Oregon Ducks star and Pasadena City College Head Coach Kenny Lawler, and the list goes on.

Coach Jarin is quick to recognize those who helped lead him and continue to build bridges in the coaching world. “Today, Gene (Alim) would be one of the better coaches on any coaching staff that I could put together,” he said of his mentor at Sweetwater. “Kenny (Lawler) was the Head Coach at Pasadena at brought me on to takeover the d-coordinator job. I’ve been blessed to be under guys like Bill Fisk, Dave Tipton,” he explains.

Coco Jarin has recently dedicated his coaching efforts to the I.E. Elite 7on7 Team alongside Kenny Lawler Sr., and has taken on an instrumental role in the organization of the LA Watts Summer Games football competition.

“Initially I was involved with the LA Watts Summer Games in ‘09. My wife was a graduate of the Riordan Program and when I went to the graduation I sat next to a gentleman who asked if I wanted to get involved in the football segment. When I got involved it wasn’t what I remembered it as. It’s a benchmark event with historical value tagged to it. It’s an unbelievable human relations event. There’s no reason an event of this caliber should fall off the map,” he says with excitement.

Jarin is obviously passionate about sports and his community, and like most he played a bit of high school and college ball. “It was right after college ball that I got involved in coaching. I did ten years of coaching down in San Diego and then I moved up here (Inland Empire) in 1996 and got a job at Mt. San Antonio College,” he said. "Lenny Rodriguez was a defensive coordinator at Mt. San Antonio College, and when I relocated with my wife, Lenny got me into the interview with Bill Fisk."

Before he arrived at Mt. San Antonio College to coach with Fisk, Jarin had already developed a love for helping young student-athletes reach their potential in life and in sports. “I was at Sweetwater High School in San Diego and was blessed to be able to be around some great mentors. I was mentored at a young age as a coach. I looked at them and recognized that it was more than just coaching,” he told CLA.

As a young coach, Jarin says that he realized that “it wasn’t all about the wins and the losses. It was about guiding the kids and helping make things happen.”

“My biggest coaching mentor is Dave Tipton. He played with Jim Plunkett at Stanford and they won the Rose Bowl. He was drafted and played with the New York Giants and finally with the San Diego Chargers. He coached high school football for three years and I was his defensive backs coach. I’ve been blessed to have somebody like Dave Tipton to get me involved with football. Dave took me to my first coaching clinic.”

Stories like these flow easily from Coach Jarin’s memory, but it’s apparent that he isn’t close to letting up any time soon.

“Early on, as a coach, I learned to be a good manager of people and recognize people’s strengths. My first year at Mt. San Antonio we won a national title. We led the nation in sacks with 79. When Lenny (Rodriguez) left to New Mexico, I landed the position as the defensive coordinator, which is where I met Kenny Lawler (LA Watts Summer Games, Football co-chair). Kenny currently runs MatchMakers Sports Consulting.”

Elevating the LA Watts Summer Games is a challenge that Coach Jarin looks forward to tackling now and in the future. “You’ve got to be able to deal with quality. Substance is going to create something huge,” he says. Jarin has used his experience and wide network to bring in former San Francisco 49ers standout Dana Hall, along with former Boise State coach and motivational speaker Viliami Tuivai.

“Having those guys on the team gives everybody an opportunity to help this grow. Hopefully the 2013 LA Watts Summer Games is huge… Nick Davidson (LAWSG Chair) has done an incredible job by coming in and letting us grab the bull by the horns.”

Jose “Coco” Jarin is a natural leader who has helped infuse the 2012 LA Watts Summer Games with inspiration and passion. His dedication has enabled others to follow his lead, and considering his background, this comes as no surprise.

“For all student-athletes, coaches, parents and volunteers, I think it’s important for all of us to know that we should dedicate ourselves to bringing the most positive vibes, the most competitive atmosphere, the most togetherness that there’s ever been. That’s something we can take as a baton to the next event. Building bridges means that we’re making sure to connect one end to the other. Knowing that we’re involved in something historical. If we all do that, the games will be unbelievable,” says Jarin.