Newport Harbor football coach Jeff Brinkley retires after consistent 32-year run – Orange County Register

Newport Harbor football coach Jeff Brinkley, who took over the program in 1986 and turned the Sailors into one of Orange County’s most consistent winners, retired Tuesday after 32 seasons.

Tied with University’s Mark Cunningham for the most tenured, active coach in Orange County, Brinkley broke the news to Newport Harbor principal Sean Boulton and his players. The announcement capped a career that featured trips to the CIF-SS finals in three different decades.

“We had some great years,” Brinkley, 65, said. “I thought it was the right time (to retire). I went out on my own terms. … This is my decision. It’s just time. Times have changed.”

Brinkley guided Newport Harbor to 244 victories and eight trips to the CIF-SS championships. His victory total ranks fifth in county history behind Bob Johnson, John Barnes, Mike Marrujo and Bruce Rollinson.

The Sailors won CIF titles under Brinkley in 1994, 1999 and 2005. The 1994 team went 14-0 and beat Servite in the finals. The 1999 squad finished 13-0-1.

Newport Harbor missed the playoffs the past three seasons, including a 2-8 mark in 2017, but the Sailors were mostly a model of consistency under Brinkley. Their last trip to the finals was in 2013. They made the playoffs 23 times.

“The thing I’m the most proud of is that we were very consistent,” Brinkley said. “The (assistant) coaches I’ve had over the years, that’s also been consistent.”

Brinkley praised his longtime assistants, Bill Brown, and, Tony Ciarelli, for helping create the winning environment.

He also said the Sailors won without recruiting players or landing many transfers. Brinkley included the latter part of the changing landscape of high school sports. He also added the increasingly short tenures of football coaches.

“The Mike Marrujos, Terry Henigans, Dave Whites, those kinds of guys,” Brinkley said, “are few and far between.”

Brinkley arrived at Newport Harbor after coaching football three seasons at Excelsior and…

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