Jeff Hesselmeyer, the dean of high school football coaches in the Goleta Valley, unexpectedly died in his home on Friday night, July 22. Hesselmeyer, 59, was about to embark on his third season as head coach of the San Marcos Royals. He was head coach of the Dos Pueblos Chargers for 10 seasons. He was a teacher at both schools and held in high regard by his students and players.
“I never heard anybody say anything bad about Coach Hess,” said San Marcos athletic director Abe Jahadhmy. A UCSB graduate, Hesselmeyer broke in as quarterbacks coach under the late Scott O’Leary at Dos Pueblos. “We had a close-knit staff, and Jeff fit in well,” said Joby Nunez, a longtime assistant coach and close friend of Hesselmeyer. “It didn’t matter if we didn’t have the best players. The kids all had a positive experience under Coach Hess.”
Hesselmeyer was known as a creative offensive strategist whose schemes often compensated for the physical limitations of his teams. “He was fun to be around,” said Nunez, who came out of retirement to help Hesselmeyer in his first season at San Marcos, when the Royals won the city championship.
A widower, Hesselmeyer is survived by his sister, Beth Quartarolo of Vancouver, Wash., and two nephews. His canine companion, an Australian shepherd named Elway, will be put up for adoption. His funeral service will be private. Jahadhmy said a memorial will be held at the San Marcos gymnasium or auditorium at a later date.