You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone out of Eastlake or Bonita Vista high schools that didn’t know Coach Blas.
The long-time beloved South Bay coach has been a fixture in the community for decades, and his recent passing has the entire community feeling the loss.
Robert Blas worked an instructional aide at Eastlake High School and coached girl’s lacrosse and freshman football. He was also a regular volunteer with the soccer team, helping with scores and announcements.
His current and former players, like Anjanae Hassel, will tell you he was more than just a coach.
“He would always be involved in the school even if wasn't for the sports he was coaching for. He'd be here during the day during school hours just helping out doing what he could do to help students and help teachers and staff,” Hassel said.
Freshman football player Maxwell Cablayan was one of many who shared a touching picture on social media after learning of Coach Blas’ passing Monday from health complications.
Cablayan said he’ll always remember the life lessons coach shared.
One such lesson went something like, “Instead of focusing on football, do academics first. That will get you the football career you want,” Cablayan said.
“Everyday life. We always go through challenges. We always have things to conquer. Just never giving up you can do what you need to do and you got it.”
During Blas' 20-plus years of coaching at Eastlake High, he found time in 2019 to be a part of NBC 7 and Telemundo 20's street team, which attended countless events throughout the county promoting the station and interacting with viewers.
Sergio Hernandez, NBC 7 and Telemundo 20’s Community and Press Manager, described Blas as a “Great guy. Big smile. Huge heart. Always there when you needed him."
Photos: South Bay Community Remembers Selfless High School Coach
He also witnesses Blas' commitment to making young lives better first hand while Blas coached his daughter on the Eastlake lacrosse team.
“If my daughter needed extra practice because she didn’t do well in a game he would stop what he was doing, come [to the school] and open everything for her and her teammates to come and work a little harder,” Hernandez said.
A visitation ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 19 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Glenn Abbey Main Chapel in Bonita, and a funeral service will follow on Feb. 20 at St. Charles Catholic Church in San Diego.