Legendary football coach Bill Redell retires
Westlake Village, Calif. —
Oaks Christian head coach Bill Redell has been saying for
years that he makes a decision about returning as coach after each season ends. And for years he was back on the sidelines coaching the Lions in the fall.
But on Wednesday he made a different call. After a successful
12-year stint in which he built Oaks Christian into a nationally recognized
power, Redell, 70, has decided to retire.
“I’m leaving the program in a good situation with good
players and good feelings all the way around,” Redell said. “I’ll be 71
next month and not that that’s an old man but I just figured it’s time to let
somebody do it before they want to ride you out of here.
“Guys hang on too long. There’s a time to go and you
need to try to go out on top if you can.”
Redell was named the first coach at Oaks Christian in 1999,
building the football program from nothing into a seven-time CIF Sectional
champion. The Lions won six straight CIF titles from 2003-08, and the
Division III State Bowl in 2006.
After being criticized for only beating “small” schools,
Redell and the Lions moved into the Marmonte League and the CIF Northern
Division from the Tri-Valley, Northwest Division in 2010. In
their first season moving up in competition, the Lions shocked the CIF world by
winning the 2010 CIF Southern Section Northern Division Championship in
dramatic fashion over their newly formed city rivals, Westlake.
Down by one, the Lions elected to go for the two-point
conversion and the lead. It was successful on a run by Blair Holliday.
The Warriors then had a chance to win the game, but the now infamous 41-yard
field goal by Westlake’s Alex Ball went off of the upright, sealing the 29-28
championship win for the Lions.
It’s one of moments that will always stand out for
“When we won the Division I Championship at Crespi in ‘86,
when I had Russell White, that was a big game,” Redell said, “and beating
Westlake when the field goal banged off the post, for us to be able to win that
two years ago in the CIF Championship … those would be two games that
He had some experience in building programs from
scratch. Redell was an assistant at Cal State Fullerton in their football
team’s first season of existence under Dick Coury. He also was a part of
the USFL when it started as an assistant for Coury with the Boston Breakers.
“I learned a lot of things about how to start a program from
Dick Coury regardless if it was college football or pro football,” Redell
said. “I applied some of those same principles here in high school.”
It helped him in his building of the program that was dubbed
“Hollywood High” for attracting players of high-profile athletes and
celebrities. Actor Will Smith, NHL great Wayne Gretzky and NFL legend
Joe Montana all had sons who played for Redell at Oaks Christian.
Before his 12 years at Oaks, Redell was the head coach at
St. Francis for seven years. Prior to that, he served two stints as the
head coach of Crespi, winning the aforementioned Big Five Championship with
star running back Russell White.
He has an extensive coaching tree —15 of his former
assistants are currently head coaches in high school.
Westlake’s Jim Benkert, Servite’s Troy Thomas, Moorpark’s
Tim Lins, St. Francis’ Jim Bonds and current USC offensive coordinator Kennedy
Polamalu are some who have either played or coached under Redell.
Nicknamed “The Falcon,” Redell was inducted into the College
Football Hall of Fame in 2001. He was a dual-threat quarterback and defensive back
for Occidental College. In his two seasons, he threw for over 1,500 yards
and ran for over 1,500 yards. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry, kicked and
punted, while leading Occidental to two SCIAC championships.
After a cup of coffee with the LA Rams, Redell played six
seasons in the CFL for Edmonton, Hamilton, where he won a Grey Cup in 1967, and
Redell hopes to remain at Oaks Christian in some capacity,
likely helping students with their college decisions. He says he’ll be
open to having input to the next Oaks Christian head coach “only if they
Current assistant, Mark Bates, has long been considered to
be the heir to Redell.
Redell concludes his career with a record of