By Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
Dante Scarnecchia, a starting center on Taft College's 1966 championship football team, has earned his fifth Super Bowl ring as offensive line coach and assistant head coach of the World Champion New England Patriots.
Sunday's 13-3 win over the upstart L.A. Rams capped Scarnecchia's 47th season as a coach, his 35th in the NFL and 33rd with the Patriots. Under his guidance the patriot line has flourished, finishing near the top in major statistical categories nearly every season. In 2017 his offensive line led the NFL in total yards and was second in scoring.
A few days before the Super Bowl New England's franchise quarterback Tom Brady called Scarnecchia "the best offensive line coach in the history of the game," which only made the famously media shy Coach Scar "cringe."
He was recruited to play in Taft by legendary coach Tom Harrell and between seasons accompanied his coach on recruiting trips to Southern California, where he attended Montebello High.
After the Cougars won the 1966 Wool Bowl in New Mexico, Scarnecchia and teammate Jim Anderson earned scholarships to Cal Western University (now known as Alliant Univ.) in San Diego where they played for two years and coached as graduate assistants for two more. They went separate ways with Scarnecchia making stops at Iowa State, SMU, University of Pacific, and Northern Arizona before getting hired by the patriots in 1991.
Like his former TC teammate, Anderson coached at several universities before becoming the Cincinnati Bengals running back coach for 29 years before retiring five years ago. Anderson coached five Pro Bowl running backs, including several 1,000-yard rushers.
"Jim and I met at Taft College and have been close friends since," Scarnecchia told me several; years ago when Harrell passed away. "Our families still get together to vacation in the off-season."
Anderson, who was from Pennsylvania, remained in the Cincinnati area after retiring.