Story By: Lynn Levitt
Classes are in session at Pierce College and inside the structure of the South Gym, the sound of footsteps echo in the hallway. A tall, rail thin, but physically fit man heads out of his office to a shaded area near the soccer field. You wonder why he is headed for shade, as his skin is sun-dipped, bronze. His step is self-assured and he carries golf clubs under his arms.
A student approaches the man, with an add slip to join the gathering golf class.
Athletic Director and golf instructor, Bob Lofrano gently sets down the clubs under a tree and takes the add slip.
Lofrano is not a new kid on the block when it comes to Pierce. As a student athlete in 1968 – 1969, Lofrano played as Brahmas’ second baseman with his teammate and friend Doug DeCinces, who played third base. Although DeCinces went on to be drafted, by the Baltimore Orioles 1970 amateur draft, Lofrano jokes, “ I was really better than him, but I decided to stay at Pierce.”
Well, Lofrano did transfer from Pierce and graduated from CSUN with a Physical Education Major. He then moved on to Chatsworth High School and coached the Chatsworth Chancellors baseball team.
In 1989, Lofrano returned to Pierce as head baseball coach, leaving Chatsworth with an impressive 210-65 win/loss record.
During Lofrano’s coaching success at Pierce, the school was referred to as ‘the baseball factory’. In 1998, future Cy Young Award recipient Barry Zito transferred to Pierce College. Under the tutelage of Lofrano, Zito left Pierce with a 2.62 ERA and went 9-2 with 135 strikeouts in 103 innings.
Comparing DeCinces and Zito, Lofrano says, “ It was a different era. Doug was a friend and teammate and Zito was a student but, they were both self driven.”
The year 2006 came and Hall of Famer Bob Lyons left the Athletic Director throne and Lofrano filled the position. Lofrano strongly felt his main focus was to keep our head above water when he spoke about budget cuts. Today Lofrano says, “It’s still true. We are not out of the woods and have to be careful what we spend. Our coaches still need new uniforms.”
Lofrano is not all about sports. When asked what hobbies he had other than sports, he replied, “Golf and exercise!” Okay, so rephrasing the question to, if you couldn’t be in sports what would you do? Lofrano said, “No one has asked me that.”
With a smile and look like a light blub just lit up, he said, “a radio announcer, but I’d have to do it about sports.” Then it came to him, “ No wait! A singer!”
A huge Beatles fan that does ‘breakfast with the Beatles’ Sunday mornings and has a John Lennon picture hanging in his office, maybe Lofrano could have a future as a singer.
The South Gym is loud now, as classes have been dismissed. A student Omar Black says, “Bob is a decent guy!” and the web site RateMyProfessors.com, gives Lofrano a 4.9 out of 5, with comments of “Great guy”, “The man is the best PE teacher ever” and “He’s the best.”
One must wonder what the consensus would be if he were a singer? John Lennon sang the answer best, ‘Imagine!’