Bob Lofrano, athletic director, posing for his portrait in South Gym in front of the Pierce College Hall of Fame display case on Nov. 15, 2016 at Pierce College, Woodland Hills, Calif. Photo by Amy Au

Bob Lofrano, athletic director, posing for his portrait in South Gym in front of the Pierce College Hall of Fame display case on Nov. 15, 2016 at Pierce College, Woodland Hills, Calif. Photo by Amy Au

 Tanya Castaneda

Coach to Cubs scout

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Bob Lofrano, athletic director, posing for his portrait in South Gym in front of the Pierce College Hall of Fame display case on Nov. 15, 2016 at Pierce College, Woodland Hills, Calif. Photo by Amy Au

Chicago native Bob Lofrano sits in his office in the North Gym, leisurely typing player reports for current and prospective MLB athletes. With his tan, leathery skin, and his small, wire framed glasses, Lofrano’s eyes are fixed on his computer. Chicago Cubs memorabilia adorn his office as he prepares himself for a busy day, jampacked with sporting activities.

With flashbacks and memories from both his childhood and coaching years, Lofrano often likes to reflect on his experiences as a fan of the game.

September 9, 1965, he was set to go to a Dodger vs Cub game that night at Dodger Stadium. However, his plans fell through and he ended up listening to the game on the radio. Little did he know, that game would go down in history as one of the greatest games ever pitched as Sandy Koufax threw a perfect game.

“You’d listen to Vin Scully, and I’m 15, 16 years old, Koufax throws a perfect game against the Cubs. I can still hear that in my head,” Lofrano said.

He showed intense passion for the game at the tender age of 15, however, his exposure to baseball came to him much sooner.

At the young age of about five years old, Lofrano put on a glove and fell in love with the game. As he would play catch with his father and his older brother, he realized just how important the sport was to his family.

“Being Italian, sports and Italian go hand in hand. When the Italians came here and immigrated to this country, they brought sports with them and so it’s just something you grow up with. It’s part of the culture,” Lofrano said.

In the late 1950s, early 1960s, when he reached the age of eight, Lofrano first began playing organized baseball at Canoga-Winnetka American Little League. There his father coached both him and his brother.

Growing up, Lofrano played in the same league as his brother, who was two years his elder. However, they did not play in a competitive manner, they simply played for the love of the game.

He then continued his playing career at Chatsworth high school from 1965 to 1967. After graduating, he attended Pierce college where he played ball in 1968 and 1969 in a Brahma uniform, where he ended his career as an athlete. He then transferred to CSUN to major in physical education and focus on his coaching.

Shortly after receiving his bachelor degree, Lofrano went on to teach and coach at Chatsworth High.

June 16, 1981, the Chicago Cubs were sold to the Tribune Company from Wrigley chewing gum. Under new ownership, the team’s new slogan included “Starting a new tradition,” which gave Lofrano an idea.

“I wrote a letter in 1981,” Lofrano said. “I can picture it right now sitting in my room at Chatsworth High. ‘I’m the Chatsworth High baseball coach, die hard Cub fan, I would really like to help out.’ Usually they take those letters and throw them in the trash can, they answered mine.”

The Cubs then connected Lofrano with the full-time scout in the area, Doug Mapson. After meeting Lofrano, Mapson hired him as an associate scout, which paved the way for a salary position as a part-time scout.

“35 years later, I’m still working for the Cubs,” Lofrano said. “Just call me Mr. Lucky.”

His experience and love of sports exudes his persona, making him a standout athletic director to those who coach.

“Baseball’s huge. That is Bob right there, that’s his heartbeat,” Pierce softball coach Mark Cooley said.

According to Pierce baseball coach Bill Picketts, Lofrano’s mentally, demeanor, experience and professionalism is the reason Picketts is constantly in his office seeking guidance.

As an avid fan of the game, Lofrano not only watches baseball, but he studies the game.

“Baseball has tradition and you should know it,” Lofrano said. “I don’t read ‘Gone with the Wind,’ I read sports books.”

Went to Rams and Dodger games. He attended games both in the colosseum and at Dodger Stadium because his dad (Carmen) was a baseball guy and enjoyed it.  His father attended the very first game played at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day in 1962.

September 9, 1965, he was set to go to a Dodger vs Cub game that night at Dodger Stadium. However, his plans fell through and he ended up listening to the game on the radio. Little did he know, that game would go down in history as one of the greatest games ever pitched as Sandy Koufax threw a perfect game.

“You’d listen to Vin Scully, and I’m 15, 16 years old, Koufax throws a perfect game against the Cubs. I can still hear that in my head,” Lofrano said.

Lofrano plans on paying public respect to Vin Scully, in honor of his retirement from a legendary career, as he ends his 67th season as Dodgers broadcaster.

As an avid fan of the game, Lofrano not only watches baseball, but he also studies it the history behind the game.

“Baseball has tradition and you should know it,” Lofrano said. “I don’t read ‘Gone with the Wind,’ I read sports books.”

Years later, a former player Lofrano once coached became the general manager for the Florida Marlins and offered him a job. Lofrano kindly refused as he stated he simply does what he does for the love of the Cubs.

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