2:00 a.m. February 4, 2009
El Camino High announced yesterday the hiring of Pulu Poumele as football coach, the third head coach since the school opened in 1976.
Principal Dan Daris said Poumele was one of 24 applicants and six finalists to replace Trace Deneke, who is also the athletic director. Deneke went 20-35 in five seasons, winning one league title.
“(Poumele) was extremely organized and did an excellent job of presenting his offensive and defensive philosophies,” Daris said. “He has so much to offer, plus he went to Oceanside High, he's from Oceanside and he still lives in Oceanside.”
Poumele, 37, completed his first season as a head coach in 2008 with San Marcos, which finished 2-8. Poumele spent the previous seven seasons – four as the defensive coordinator – as an assistant at Oceanside High, which has won five straight San Diego Section Division II titles.
It used to be the other way around. El Camino was the city of Oceanside's county power under coach Herb Meyer, who won eight section titles in 28 years at the school.
“They have a rich tradition and I grew up seeing it unfold under Coach Meyer,” Poumele said. “I had a lot of family members go there. My hope is to be able to bring some of that pride back to El Camino.
“The decision had nothing to do with the support at San Marcos. The only reason I looked was because it was in my own backyard.”
Poumele is an Arizona graduate who played as an offensive lineman for two seasons with the Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens, one with the Chargers and two with Toronto in the Canadian Football League.