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Former Edison, Orange Coast College football coach Bill Workman dies at age 82

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Bill Workman, who built Edison’s football program into an Orange County powerhouse in the late 1970s and early ’80s, and later coached at Orange Coast College, has died at age 82, his daughter Julie Norwood confirmed.

The longtime Fountain Valley resident died Monday after fighting Lewy body dementia the past few years, she said.

In his 13 seasons as Edison’s coach, Workman guided the school to CIF-SS Big-Five Conference titles in 1979 and 1980, and a Big-Five co-championship in 1985, his final season.

His teams won a then-county record 32 consecutive games from 1979-81 and featured standouts such as Kerwin Bell, Frank Seurer, Mark Boyer and Bill Malavasi.

“Great coach,” said former Edison coach Dave White, who played and coached for Workman. “He was a player’s coach. You liked playing for him. He made it fun to work hard.”

“I owe my whole career to him,” added White, who guided Edison for 31 seasons after succeeding Workman.

Workman compiled a 109-33-5 record at Edison from 1973-1985. The Chargers won seven Sunset League titles, and never posted a losing record.

In 1980, Workman led Edison past rival Fountain Valley 14-0 in the finals before a crowd of nearly 29,000 at Angel Stadium.

“He definitely took (the program) to the next level,” said Rocky Whan, who was part of Edison’s CIF championship team in its second year in 1970.

But Workman focused on much more than just winning.

The graduate of Whitter College was known for mentoring players to be responsible and strive for success on and off the field. He advocated for players to be voluntarily tested for drugs and alcohol.

“His most important thing was being with the kids, and mentoring young kids,” Norwood said of her father. “He taught the guys how to act, and how to respond in certain situations.”

Sheri recalled that the Edison teams often prayed before games and discussed personal character.

She believes her husband’s values were formed as a boy working at his father Jack’s gas station in Bell.

“It was his dad who gave him the character,” she said. “(Bill) touched a lot of lives. He loved kids.”

On the field, Workman helped instill the Edison program with pride.

He added a popular lightning bolt to the team’s pants for games and continued the “Stand Tall” tradition of Edison defensive players placing their hands at their waist between plays, Julie said.

His message? “Take pride in your actions,” Julie said, “and take responsibility for your actions.”

Sheri said her husband’s coaching success was aided by several of his assistant coaches early in his career, including Vince Asaro, Barry Waters, Russ Purnell, Greg Henry and Mike Scarpace.

Workman left Edison for Orange Coast College, where he replaced longtime coach Dick Tucker.

Workman highlighted his 13-year tenure by leading the Pirates to a Mission Conference title in 1990. He resigned in 1999 with a 63-70 record.

During White’s final season as Edison’s head coach in 2016, Workman was a frequent visitor on the Chargers’ sideline. He also attended the Edison-Fountain Valley game this past season.

“(He was) a second father to me,” White said. “He’s in a better place now.”

Workman is survived by his wife Sheri, daughters Julie and Jana and nine grandchildren.

Both his daughters attended and played sports at Fountain Valley. Sheri also briefly taught at the school, located adjacent to the family home.

Two of Workman’s grand-daughters, twins Sydnee and Jordyn Norwood, play basketball at Crean Lutheran.

Funeral service arrangements are pending, Julie said.

Please send football news to Dan Albano at dalbano@scng.com or @ocvarsityguy on Twitter

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