Bruce Rollinson walked off of the Dana Hills High School football field on an early, overcast June afternoon. He had just led his team to a passing tournament championship and marveled at what was going on around him.
Before the end of the last play, he felt his cell phone vibrating. It was a text from his daughter congratulating him on the win.
“Somebody told me the thing’s on Twitter,” Rollinson said in amazement on that June afternoon.
While Rollinson stood in front of media members answering questions about his team, he took a moment to reflect.
“I’m sitting here thinking in my own mind, ‘What are you going to write a major article about a passing tournament?’ ” he asked. “We used to play these things and we wouldn’t see you guys until August.”
Times have changed.
What hasn’t changed is the presence of Rollinson on the Mater Dei sidelines. Now in his 25th season as the program’s head football coach, Rollinson has helped Mater Dei’s rise in becoming a nationally recognized program.
The longtime Monarchs head coach was honored on the Angel Stadium field before facing Servite.
There are two factors one could easily point to that tell the story of his long-term success. He’s won CIF titles — five of them. And he’s had an exemplary amount of success against his archrival. Rollinson is 21-3-1 all-time against Servite, including a 20-year undefeated run against the Friars (the schools played to a 0-0 tie in 1992) that was snapped in 2009.
Last season he snapped a three-game losing streak to the Friars. This season he started a new streak of his own with a 28-21 win against Servite at Angel Stadium.
As head coach, he’s won over 75 percent of the games with the Monarchs. He’s led them to two mythical national championships, and also 14 league titles. Under his leadership, his alma mater has become one of the winningest programs in the nation.
“I am one of the lucky ones,” Rollinson said. “I get to do what I love, in great surroundings, with maximum support. Who could ask for more?”
Plenty has changed since 1989 when he took over as head coach.