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Moschetti leaves as La Mirada’s head football coach to take same position at St. Paul

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March 8, 2023

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

Mike Moschetti, who spent 13 seasons over two stints as the head coach for La Mirada High’s football team, was hired last Friday to become the new head coach at St. Paul High. La Mirada is coming off a 4-6 season last fall and missed the CIF-Southern Section playoffs for the first time in over 40 years.

“My faith is very important to me,” said Moschetti. “My mom went to Catholic school, my dad went to Catholic school, my uncle, who is a big impact on my life, went to Catholic school. I’ve never talked about this to anybody, but each night I pray. I do the rosary every night and I’ve always, from a far, respected and watched St. Paul High School, Cantwell [Sacred Heart of Mary] High School, Verbum Dei High School.”

Moschetti was a co-head coach with Ollie Lynch in the 2008-2009 seasons before assuming the head coaching duties from 2010-2016. During his first stint, the Matadores won the 2009 Southern Division championship, defeating Garden Grove High 49-47. La Mirada also won the 2015 CIF Division III-AA state title, defeating Campolindo High 27-3. The next season, the Matadores fell to Edison High 44-24 in the Division 3 championship game. He came back as the head coach in 2019 and in the last four seasons, went 20-18, winning a pair of playoff games. While coaching the Matadores, he went 57-11 in league action, won six league championships, and had a 17-9 postseason record.

“It took a lot of work; we’re proud of it, and as a coach, you’re only as good as your players, number one and your staff, number two,” said Moschetti. “I was really blessed to have really good players and a really, really good coaching staff. There were a lot of good things that we did and there was a lot of heartache also.”

He coached against former St, Paul head coach Marijon Ancich 2009-2011, defeating the Swordsmen 15-7 before losing the next two seasons 24-17 and 24-7 respectively. He said he loved the atmosphere, and the players were always disciplined and tough.

Moschetti grew up in La Mirada, went to a lot of La Mirada football games as a kid, was on the campus as an eighth grader before there were junior high schools and said it is a special place to him. 

“When the coach [Rick] Zepeda news was pretty shocking to everybody, I got a phone call from [St. Paul athletic director] Rich Avina and the principal, Robert Miller,” said Moschetti. “He asked me if I had any interest, and I did. I just didn’t know exactly how it would work. There were a lot of moving parts that needed to happen.” 

Rumors were flying around for weeks, and he said 99.9 percent of them were not true. He said he needed to think about his decision with his family, his uncles and his brothers as well as his coaching staff, which is coming with Moschetti to the Santa Fe Springs-based school. 

“If you would have told me two weeks ago if this would have happened, I probably would have said no,” said Moschetti. “It seemed like there were too many things that needed to happen for it to happen. But late last Wednesday, and really Thursday night really solidified it that I was all in and I was ready to go.” 

Moschetti received a phone call from former Mayfair High legendary head coach Mike Fitch last Thursday to congratulate him on taking over the St. Paul job. For the longest time, La Mirada and Mayfair would battle for supremacy in the Suburban League and even faced each other twice for the CIF championship. The games with Mayfair are just one of many things Moschetti will miss about being associated with La Mirada, further saying that ‘La Mirada is in my DNA’.

“I was nine years old with my dad at the 1984 CIF championship game at La Mirada High School,” he remembered. “La Mirada played Fullerton and La Mirada was 13-0 and Fullerton upset them and I remembered getting in the car and I was heartbroken because I looked at La Mirada like it was Notre Dame. I remembered getting in the car and crying because they lost. The next day, I went to the Pop Warner championship at La Mirada High School. From my backyard, when the field gets built after five years [of renovations]…when the lights are on and La Mirada Stadium shines into my backyard, that’s how close I live to the school.”

Moschetti, who will still remain at La Mirada as a physical education teacher, will bring all but one member of his coaching staff with him but will also interview some of the current St. Paul coaching staff. He also stepped down as assistant athletic director.