06/27/13 - posted by Phaidra Medeiros
William Firpo also known in San Francisco as "Flash" grew up an only child in the Bay View District in SF, attended St. Ignatius High School and went on to earn his Masters Degree in Physical Education. He began his coaching career at Horace Mann in SF, coaching O.J Simpson in little league baseball and numerous other recreation centers. He married my grandma (which I never met because of her death right after I was born in 1969) and had 4 children, one of which was my mom. He remarried and had another child, my Uncle Tony only 2 years older than me. At George Washington high school he began his career as the Dean of Boys, PE Teacher and coaching in the early 60's as JV Football and JV Basketball and later Varsity Baseball, becoming the first coach to win a baseball championship in 1976.
In the 60's and 70's Washington high school students rebelled during the Vietnam War, whether it was setting cars on fire, one of which was my Papa's, fighting and even a student dying in his arms in the boys gym after the student had been stabbed in a gang related incident. I look back on his life and it all makes sense why he was so tough.
After my father and mother divorced he stepped up and took the place of my father. We spent summer vacations at a dude ranch where I got to spend time with the actor Cary Grant and his daughter Jennifer. He taught me how to ski, fish, hunt, ride a horse, swim, how to play basketball, baseball and yes even football. I was his little tom boy. He spent time umpiring college football and having me work the sidelines with the first down chains ( I was only 6 or 7) As I entered high school, after attending Catholic School for 6 years I begged my mom if I could go to Washington High School, where she and her siblings all went. She agreed because of my Papa working there, she knew he would keep an eye out on me. His last year at GWHS I had the honor of him coaching me on the varsity basketball team. He played no favorites of me and worked my ass off just like all the other girls. My last game in high school was played at Kezar Stadium in the play-offs with him as the coach and the both of us couldn't have asked for a better ending to his career.
In his life he had to endure the loss of 2 of his children, my uncle Billy Firpo and my mom Randy and no parent should ever have to bury a child, let alone 2. HE LOVED TO COACH, HE LOVED HIS PLAYERS AND BETTER YET HE LOVED HIS FAMILY.
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