East County Sports

Karlo one of six with 100 local victories

Tom Karlo has won 110 games with Grossmont and Mount Miguel. / P.J. Panebianco

Career Coaching Victories (at East County schools only) 

Coach School(s) Seasons            
Jim Arnaiz
Matt Oliver
Steve Sutton
Jack Mashin
Tom Karlo
Ed Carberry
West Hills/Valhalla
Monte Vista



By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

EL CAJON —- Tom Karlo didn’t discover success as a high school football coach, he earned it.

One of five Grossmont District coaches to ever post 100 or more career victories (six have reached the plateau among East County schools), Karlo guided the Foothillers through the pandemic-shortened Spring 2021 season, but no more, announcing his resignation from the post earlier this week.

School officials indicated that Karlo will make an official statement “in the near future,” but for now, accolades are pouring in for his career well done at Mount Miguel High, where he coached for seven years before taking the head football coaching position at his alma mater.

Tom Karlo coaching Grossmont High quarterback Justin Brown. / P.J. Panebianco

“We were surprised when Coach Karlo stepped down as Grossmont’s head coach for personal reasons,” said Megan Long, Grossmont’s athletics director. “We truly appreciate his dedication to the student-athletes at Grossmont and all of the success he has had.”

Just the past season (a shortened six-game campaign conducted during the spring), the Foothillers had the most productive passing offense in the county, and are usually among the top offensive teams in the section year-in-and-year-out.

Many believed Karlo had three main goals in mind when accepting the Foothillers position — besides winning the CIF-San Diego Section championship.

As a player, Karlo was notably the last Grossmont quarterback to help the Hillers defeat arch-rival Helix, with a repeat of the feat probably also giving the school a league title. However, over nine seasons and 10 contests (they met once in the postseason),  the closest the Foothillers came was this past spring season, falling short by two touchdowns.

Plus, based on his career winning percentage of a solid .617, Karlo was moving within reach of touching the early 20th Century school mark of 125 wins set by the legendary Jack Mashin (1925-49), for whom the Grossmont home stadium is named after (the field at Grossmont College, too, shared with Joe Roth).

Mashin held the GUHSD record for decades until surpassed by Helix High’s Jim Arnaiz, the current all-time local leader at 215 wins.

In 16 seasons, Karlo owns 110 wins, which means he might need to coach another 16 years to pursue the Arnaiz mark.

Instead, Karlo, who was reportedly going to have to replace most of his staff which decided for various reasons to step away from coaching following the pandemic-delayed spring season, is expected to remain an instructor a Grossmont, for now, although he would certainly be at the top of any school’s list of local candidates for a top job.


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