Sam Pecchia Coach

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Feb 14, 2011 2 Comments ›› Riverside Sport Hall of Fame


Sam Pecchia was born in Nashwauk , Minnesota in 1921 as one of eleven children. He graduated from Nashwauk High School in 1939 having lettered in football, basketball, and baseball all 4 years. In July 2003 he returned to Nashwauk to be the first former athlete to be inducted into The Nashwauk High School Hall of Fame.

He continued his athletic career at Itascha Junior College , graduating from there in June 1941. In the fall of 1941 he enrolled at the University of Minnesota completing one semester before joining the US Army where he was on active duty from February 1942 until October 1945.

Sam served in the 29th Infantry Division and participated in the D-Day Invasion of Normandy , going ashore on the 3rd day. He fought his way across France and Germany and was in Dusseldorf , Germany when the war ended. He was awarded 2 Bronze Stars during the campaign.

After discharge he returned to enroll at the University of Minnesota , graduating in 1948. He began his teaching career at La Grand, Oregon where he also coached football, basketball, and baseball.

In 1951 he moved to Amarillo , Texas where he served as a football assistant to legendary Bum Phillips and became the baseball coach.

In 1961 Sam came to Ramona High School as the assistant football coach to John McGinnis and Frank Hostetler, winning CBL championships in 1964 and 1965.

In 1967 he became the head baseball coach winning CBL championships in 1967, 1968, 1969, and 1973, going to the playoffs 6 times( 1 semi-finalist, 2 quarter-finalist). Sam was instrumental in starting the Riverside High School Baseball Classic.

In 1973 Coach Pecchia transferred to open Arlington High School as the athletic director and head football coach. His 1974 football team won the San Andreas League Championship. His Arlington teams went to the playoffs 5 times, in the semi-finals twice. He was named Riverside County Coach of the Year in 1974 and 1978. He retired from active coaching in 1979 and continued as athletic director until 1986.

Sam was also an SCIAF and NCAA basketball official for 15 years and also after retirement from teaching worked as the CIF Liason for the Inland Area for 7 years and is one of only 5 Riversiders to be honored with a CIF Lifetime Pass.


  1. David Will says:

    My two older brothers, Jim and Dennis Will, played football and baseball for Mr Pecchia at Ramona H.S. in Riverside Calif. I played football for Mr. Pecchia at Arlington H.S. during the 1974/75 school year as a junior. Arlington H.S. was only in its second year since opening. We had a great season and one hell of a coach in Mr. Sam Pecchia. He had a certain way about himself that let you know exactly what was meant when he talked to you. Not only did he have a great personality but he liked to laugh and joke around with his players. His induction into Riverside Sports Hall of Fame is well deserved and over due!
    Sincerely David Will.

    • I was privileged to play for Mr. Pecchia in 1973 and 1974. Thanks to Mr. Pecchia’s teaching as a Varsity Head Coach, I was able to be a starter in the United States Air Force Europe (USAFE) Football League and our team was the 1978 and 1979 Italy Sports Conference Champion, the 1978 and 1979 Mediterranean Sports Conference Title Game Runner-Up, the 1978 and 1979 Naples Italy Shrine Bowl Champion. Praise Honor Tribute Esteem to Mr. Pecchia for his induction into the Hall of Fame. Well Done.
      Most respectfully submitted,
      Eric M. Winston