Two of the best-known figures in San Pedro’s storied sports history died within days of each other earlier this month, culminating long and full lives. Then, before the week was out, two more former Pirate athletes died, lives tragically cut short.
The first and oldest to die was Jerry Lovarov. In the pantheon of San Pedro High athletics, Lovarov was not a legend; he surpassed that title long ago. Lovarov, who died October 2 at age 94, was a San Pedro institution. He played baseball and basketball at San Pedro High, graduating in 1948. He then returned to his alma mater in 1954 with his degree from UC Santa Barbara and began a 40-year teaching and coaching career. He coached three generations of San Pedrans as head baseball coach, starting in 1961 and retiring in 1994, compiling a record of 442-210 with 16 league titles. His Pirates reached the City semifinals twice and the finals twice, finally winning it all in 1992, when he was named City Coach of the Year.
Major leaguers Garry Maddox, Alan Ashby, Eddie Jurak, and Brian Harper were among his many star players. Lovarov was a member of the San Pedro Athletic Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 2014, along with Maddox, Ashby, and Jurak.
Out of uniform, Lovarov is also fondly remembered by generations of Pirates as a driving education instructor, and he and his Buick Riviera were fixtures around town long after his retirement.
He was a member of the San Pedro High HOF committee from its inception and was still involved when he fell earlier this year and slipped into a coma from which he never recovered.
The term “legend,” thrown around pretty loosely these days, certainly applied to George Padovan, who died October 7 at age 89. His exploits on the basketball court in the ‘50s are a part of San Pedro lore, reflected in the fact that he is in both the San Pedro High and Harbor College athletic halls of fame.
Padovan’s playing career was short but eventful. He played only one season at San Pedro High before leaving school in 1951. After four years in the service, he enrolled at Harbor Junior College in 1955 and went out for the basketball team. His maturity and muscular 6’3” frame were put to good use. Quickly gaining a reputation as an “enforcer,” his defense and rebounding were keys to the Seahawks’ run to the school’s first state championship. He repeated first team all-conference honors the following year before receiving a scholarship to Oregon, where he played only one season but earned kudos from rivals such as Cal’s Joe Kapp, who said Padovan was “the toughest player I ever played against.”
Padovan returned to his hometown and began a long career as a dockworker.
Arrangements for Lovarov weren’t even complete when news came within days of the deaths of two of his former players.
Ed Brummel (class of W’68) died October 7 in Maui, the day after falling off his bicycle. He had refused to go to the hospital and was found dead at a bus stop the next day. He was 74.
The burly Brummel started for the Pirates in baseball, where he played with Maddox and Ashby, and in football, his two-way play at center and linebacker earned him a scholarship to Utah. After graduating from San Pedro High, he joined the Coast Guard, but his scholarship was still good when his two-year stint ended. He went to Utah, reuniting with his former Pirates teammate Jerry Garcia, and again doubled up in baseball and football, earning a football letter as a two-way lineman in 1971.
Brummel retired from a career as a cement contractor and moved to Hawaii to be closer to his family but was a regular contributor to the San Pedro Born and Raised Facebook page.
A rare and extremely aggressive cancer took the life of Ron Galosic (1984 grad) on October 9 at age 57. As a senior for the 1984 Pirates, he was 6-2 on the mound with a 1.59 ERA, batted .375, and made first team All-Marine League, second team All-City, and received a scholarship to UCLA.
His three children — Ron Jr., Mike, and Annette — and brother Randy all starred in athletics at San Pedro High. Along with the family patriarch, Joe, the Galosics were inducted into the SPHS HOF in 2019.
Galosic went on to work for Sysco Food Services but also found time to coach youth baseball and was a longtime board member of Eastview Little League. spt