By Michael Zavala
Former Cal Poly baseball coach John Scolinos has led a long life
that has influenced many people.
One of those people is author Jerry Miles, who has written a
biography titled, “John Scolinos: The Man, The Legend.”
Miles, a former sportswriter and sports editor, has known
Scolinos, 89, for more than 40 years. He wrote the book as a
tribute to Scolinos, who encouraged Miles to finish his education
after he dropped out of college to work at the Pomona
“The impact he has on people is fantastic,” said Miles. “I’ve
met many fine people in my life, but there’s no one finer than
The biography tracks Scolinos’s life from his early days growing
up in downtown Los Angeles to his coaching stints at Pepperdine
University and Cal Poly, where he coached from 1962-1991, won three
national championships and became the namesake of the Broncos’
baseball field, Scolinos Field, and to his current days in
retirement and everywhere in between.
At around 100 pages, the book seems as though it may be a bit
short, but Miles knew before he wrote it that the biography would
be relatively straightforward.
“When I decided to write a book about John Scolinos, I knew it
would be simple and not long-winded,” writes Miles in the book’s
foreword. “John is not a complex person and most certainly does not
have a large ego.”
This is also reflected in the writing style of the biography; as
a journalist, Miles sticks to short sentences and allows the facts
of Scolinos’ life and the many people Miles spoke with to tell the
The book is split into nine chapters, each presenting a
different part of Scolinos’s life. The different stages of his life
are elaborated upon via anecdotes of varying lengths and are
accompanied by photos of Scolinos and his family and friends,
including his wife Helen and his daughter Violet.
Among the stories told are of the clinic presentations Scolinos
ran, featuring his unique sense of humor.
One of his best known is a presentation Miles refers to as “Jock
Talk,” in which Scolinos would put a jock strap on his head and
tell coaches, “You got to get your head out of your jock. If you
have your head in your jock, you can’t see what you’re doing.”
“The clinics were hilarious but meaningful,” said Miles. “People
would leave with something they didn’t have before.”
Another story in the book recalls Scolinos’s hand in bringing
the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.
Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley wanted to build a stadium if the
team were to move to L.A., and he decided Chavez Ravine would be
the perfect spot. He required somewhere for the team to play while
construction was going on, however.
Scolinos and Ken Hahn, a friend from Pepperdine and a L.A.
supervisor for the Second District who was a leader in trying to
woo the Dodgers west, spent an entire morning measuring the Los
Angeles Coliseum to figure out possible dimensions and a suitable
location for a baseball diamond.
After they finished, Scolinos said that with a few minor
alterations, it would be possible to play baseball in the Coliseum.
O’Malley accepted this and moved the Dodgers to California.
“I was impressed with the impact John had in bringing the
Dodgers to L.A.,” said Miles.
Perhaps most representative of Scolinos’s life, however, is the
book’s final chapter, in which many people from vastly different
walks of life, including students, athletes, coaches and baseball
executives, reflect upon the positive impacts Scolinos had on their
“John’s honesty inspires people the most,” said Miles. “He
doesn’t force his beliefs on anyone, but you know where he’s coming
from. He sets a strong example you don’t find in many people
The strong examples and life lessons of Scolinos permeate each
page of the book. In all, Miles is proud of what he has
“It’s a wonderful tribute to John,” said Miles.
Courtesy of Dragonflyer Publishing
Scolinos bio reveals ‘The Man, The Legend’
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