Sports and coaches at Gunn and Palo Alto high schools


Sports offered at Paly and Gunn

Palo Alto and Gunn high schools offer a wide variety of sports*, run by various types of coaches.

Coaches who work as teachers at the school tend to be favored by school officials and policies. However, the demands of teaching make it challenging to recruit such coaches. So "off-campus" or "walk-on" coaches are hired to fill the positions. Some of them work at other schools as credentialed teachers; some have other jobs; and some operate private sports programs, including so-called "club" teams, as a primary source of income. The majority of off-campus coaches do not have teaching credentials.

Assistant coaches include volunteers from the ranks of current and former sports parents.

The California Interscholastic Federation, the governing body for high school sports in the state, surveys schools annually, and categorizes paid and unpaid coaches simply as "on-campus" or "off-campus" coaches.


■ football (boys only)

■ volleyball (girls only)

■ cross-country **

■ water polo

■ tennis (girls only)


■ wrestling (coed) **

■ basketball

■ soccer


■ baseball (boys only)

■ softball (girls only)

■ tennis (boys only)

■ track & field **

■ lacrosse

■ swimming

■ badminton (coed)

■ golf (boys at Gunn; coed at Paly)

■ gymnastics (girls, at Gunn)

* List includes separate teams for girls/boys, unless noted

** "No-cut" sports (means no tryouts, everyone can join). Note that at Gunn, football and swimming are no-cut sports.

Source: Paly and Gunn websites

By the numbers: Palo Alto's athletes and coaches (2008-09)


Total athletes: 832 (44%) out of 1,900 student body

Total female athletes: 375 (45% of athletes)

Total male athletes: 457 (55% of athletes)

Two-sport athletes: 191

Three-sport athletes: 11

Freshman athletes: 245

Sophomore athletes: 232

Junior athletes: 192

Senior athletes: 163


Total athletes: 772 (44%) out of 1,755 total students

(gender/multi-sport/class breakdowns not available from Paly)


Teams: 50

Coaches: 85


Teams: 45

Coaches: 72


On-campus paid coaches: 13 (8 male, 5 female)

Off-campus paid coaches: 48 (37 male, 11 female)

Off-campus unpaid coaches: 24 (23 male, 1 female)

Total male head coaches of female teams: 22

Total female head coaches of male teams: 1


On-campus paid coaches: 13 (12 male, 1 female)

Off-campus paid coaches: 50 (39 male, 11 female)

Off-campus unpaid coaches: 9 (8 male, 1 female)

Total male head coaches of female teams: 8

Total female head coaches of male teams: 0

==I Sources: Gunn and Paly athletic departments; the Paly "Viking Magazine" student sports publication. ==

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Posted by Tyler Hanley
digital editor of Palo Alto Online
on May 14, 2010 at 8:58 am

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