By Howard D. Newman
ContributorAfter a long career with the NFL and USFL, and most recently, coaching football for eight seasons at Santa Fe Christian Academy, Brian Sipe will return to his alma mater, San Diego State University, as the Aztec’s quarterback coach.
In his time coaching the Santa Fe Eagles, he achieved a 75-21-1 record and won four CIF titles.
As a professional football standout, Sipe passed for more than 25,000 yards - 23,713 NFL and 2,629 USFL - threw 171 touchdown passes and was the NFL’s MVP in 1980. That year, he threw 30 touchdowns and passed for 4,132 yards.
“Any player always wants to win a championship,” Sipe said, “but I surpassed any expectations and dreams, and was very blessed with a long career.”
He played for the Cleveland Browns from 1972 to ’83, the New Jersey Generals in ’84 and the Jacksonville Bulls in ’85.
Coming out of Grossmont High School, Sipe wasn’t heavily recruited. He went to SDSU where he found a great mentor in Don Coryell, who trained him as a quarterback and offensive player. Sipe credits Coryell with helping him greatly in the NFL.
“Playing for the Browns became a love affair with the fans,” Sipe said. “It was eye-opening for me coming from San Diego to this storied franchise: great experience, atmosphere and fans.”
He retired in 1985 after “too many hits to the head.”
Sipe then teamed up with architect Steve Adams, designing custom homes in Del Mar and Rancho Santa Fe. In 1990, he moved to Del Mar for the schools and his business, he said.
“I like the community feeling,” Sipe said of Del Mar.
Becoming a high school football coach was an unexpected twist.
“I was friends with former athletic and head football coach (at Santa Fe Christian) Bob Dennison, who was after me for a couple of years to help him out by becoming quarterback coach,” Sipe said. “I did it part time for a few years. Then I realized that we are put here on Earth to help others.”
Sipe recently was recruited as part of the search committee that recommended Brady Hoke for head coach at SDSU.
“There is so much I will miss about Santa Fe Christian, the team, my great coaching staff, and every summer taking the team to camp in the Sierras for three days - all the lifelong memories at the school. So far I lived a life of great surprises.”