(Ohara ’84 addresses media after his 2011 CIF championship win.)

In May, at the spring sports awards banquet, Garrett Ohara ’84 received a well-earned standing ovation for his 20 years of service to Flintridge Prep and his five years as athletic director (AD). In his Prep career Ohara has served as a math teacher, PE teacher, basketball coach, middle school AD and AD. In addition to bringing the school its first-ever CIF championship in basketball, he has had a significant role in acculturating a generation of PE and coaching staff. As AD, he highlighted Prep’s commitment to safety, a lifelong love of sports as well as a commitment to Prep for Life. Perhaps his most important role at Prep has been as dad to Kate ’21.

Ohara’s legacy is double the length of his time in the Athletics Department, according to Peter Bachmann. “Garrett has been part of Prep for almost 40 years,” Bachmann notes. “I’ve known him since his first year, when he was my 9th grade history student. I’m personally grateful for his coaching of my son, Rob ’03, who was on his first two league championship teams.”

“I’ve spent about 70 percent of my life at Prep, and about 85 percent of my life with Garrett. He’s much more than a colleague to me,” says Alex Rivera, who first met Ohara when he was nine years old and recruited him as freshman.

Ohara returned to Prep in 1999 to be the head basketball coach, replacing his mentor. According to the Glendale News-Press, his overall winning percentage as a coach was .608 in 511 games. The team won 14 league titles from 2002 to 2017.

In 2011, Ohara coached the team to the school’s historic CIF championship. Members of the team include Kenyatta Smith ’11, who went on to play for the Harvard Crimson, and Robert Cartwright ’14, who went on to play for Stanford and UC Irvine. Both athletes played in NCAA Division I Basketball March Madness tournaments. In addition to the CIF win in 2011, Ohara led the Prep basketball team to the CIF finals in 2004 and 2016.

“I think what sticks out to me most about Coach Ohara is his loyalty,” says Cartwright. “He’s been there for me every step of the way. Seeing him in the stands at the NCAA tournament in San Jose was truly awesome. I will always be appreciative of how instrumental he has been, not only for my basketball career, but also in helping shape me to be the man I am now.”

Veteran coach Glen Beattie says, “Garrett is the coach I’d want to be. I would sit in the stands behind him and listen to him in very tense moments, how calm he was. He’s organized and caring, but he has a goal, too, just like the rest of us.”

Ohara’s time as AD was punctuated by a commitment to health and safety, promoting athletes who go on to play sports in college and fostering relationships. In his first year as AD, funds from a Crawford family gift were used to hire Andres Alamillo, the school’s first full-time trainer. Ohara also developed an annual celebration of athletes who commit to play sports in college. Each spring, the athletes announce their college choices to a supportive group of family and friends. Signing Day sends a clear message that sports are a vital complement to a rigorous academic program.

Perhaps Ohara’s greatest legacy is relationships. His daughter will remain at Prep, and his contacts with alumni will remain strong. His coaching duties will be taken over by Ramses Barden ’04, whom he once coached. “Garrett will remain a campus presence as fan, parent, friend and adviser,” says Bachmann.

“I feel so fortunate that Alex invested in me all those years ago,” Ohara says. “That’s why I came back and that’s why my daughter’s here. It was life changing for me. I’m grateful. I appreciate the people I’ve made friends with, and the community that Peter talks about—this community, this culture and this sense of caring.”

July 29, 2019