Former coach retiring next quarter

Gary Zarecky reclines in his office.

Gillian Penden | LA VOZ staff

Gary Zarecky reclines in his office.

Adam Del Rio, Staff Writer

You’re in store for more than just kinesiology or basketball if you register for one of Coach Z’s few courses before he retires after spring quarter.

Gary Zarecky said he has achieved his dreams and more throughout his 48 years of coaching basketball and teaching, the latter half of those years at De Anza College.

He began his coaching career at the middle school level, continuing on to Sweetwater High School in southern California, where his team became the number one team in the state.

“We had over 50 state records at one time,” Zarecky said.

The records continued to follow him. While he coached at U.S. International University, his Division I basketball team set 11 records.

“That was my dream level,” Zarecky said.

Before he realized his passion for coaching, Zarecky attended law school to become a juvenile court judge.

Zarecky taught law for 17 years and has written 11 books.

“I’m writing two books currently,” he said. One book instructs coaches and teachers how to fundraise, and another book critiques the U.S. education system.

Zarecky opened his own fundraising consulting business years ago.

“I’ve raised $55 million in a span of about 25 years for various schools and districts,” he said.

But money is not what he holds as his biggest legacy— that superlative is reserved for his work with inner city and economically-deprived students.

Zarecky said students are his passion. He had multiple chances since his thirties to leave education, but wanted to continue challenging himself by working with students.

“It’s my experiences in life that became the best textbook for my students,” Zarecky said.

The soon-to-be retiree refused to dwell on his outstanding career as he transitions into retirement. He said he looks forward to just relaxing for his first year off, finishing his books, expanding his vineyard, travelling, and getting involved in his community.

Although he is leaving the education system, he still expects the best of his peers, leaving behind a reminder for educators to provide students with practical applications of education.

“I haven’t lost the passion, I just see it’s time to go,” said Zarecky. “Raise the bar in your lives. Go for the gold.”