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The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

March 14, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Former Garfield coach Fernando Amorteguy passes away

Former Garfield basketball coach Fernando Amorteguy passed away Tuesday morning at the age of 79 in Bakersfield, Calif.

Amorteguy guided the Bulldogs to state championships in 1974 and 1978 before accepting the head coaching job at Taft College in 1979. He later became a club technician for PGA players.

A memorial service will be held in Taft, Calif., Saturday, March 22 at 11 am at Westside Believers Fellowship, 101 Highway 33.

Here is more information provided by his son, Anthony:

Fernando Amorteguy, former head coach of the state champion Garfield High School Basketball team, passed away Tuesday morning in Bakersfield, California at the age of 79. Fernando is survived by his wife Isabel a loving family of seven children and, soon to be, seven grandchildren.

Fernando remained active in sports until the fall of 2012 working as a club technician on the west coast swing of the PGA Tour, Champions Tour, and LPGA Tour as owner of Amorteguy Golf which he founded in 1996.

As head basketball coach, he took the Bulldogs to two state championships, 1974 and 1978. The 1974 championship team, with starting lineup: JoJo Rodriguez, Keith Harrell, Leon Johnson, Larry Griffin and Ronnie Mitchell, is considered by many as the best high school basketball team in state history.

In 1979, Fernando accepted the head basketball coach position at Taft College in Taft, California. The school was looking to create a basketball program to match their powerhouse football program. This move eventually created connections that would lead to his move to the professional golf arena where he worked as a club technician servicing the greats of the PGA tours. A long list of pros such as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson walked through the doors of the Amorteguy Golf tour trailer. Other golf enthusiasts such as Clint Eastwood would stop in to say hello to “Fern” when he arrived the Sunday prior to the start of the tournaments.

A family and friends viewing will be held on Friday, March 14 with a memorial service scheduled for Saturday, March 22 in Bakersfield.

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