After graduating Carpinteria High School in 1996, Warriors football player Steve Murillo went on to play at Cal State Northridge. While earning his degree in marketing, he played as a flanker on offense and a free safety on defense. Later, he coached his cousin’s bantam youth football team, as well as the CHS Warriors, and interned with the Washington Huskies’ coaches before establishing himself in the collegiate coaching world as an offensive quality control analyst at University of Southern California.
“I guess I’ve always been a coach. When we played in high school, I was the coach on the field,” said Murillo whose father Henry Murillo also coached. “I called the defense and I helped out with the quarterback on offense. I’ve always been involved in the coaching role.”
In ’07 and ’08, Murillo worked the sidelines of Carpinteria Valley Memorial Stadium under his former high school coach Ben Hallock. In 2010, he began the master’s program in Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership at the University of Washington. When he was accepted, his former Warriors coach and longtime friend Rick Candaele gave him some advice—“I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to go, I felt a little overwhelmed with the opportunity,” said Murillo. “I had a talk with Rick (Candaele) before I was going to go up there, and he said, ‘You know, somebody’s gotta get the job, why not you.’”
With help from his boss, Vaqueros head coach Craig Moropoulos, Murillo was able to get on the Washington Huskies field as a referee for the high school football camp passing league tournament. Murillo was a careful student of the Huskies’ coaching staff, he would head to the field at 6 a.m. for training sessions, then to class until noon and return to the football offices at lunchtime. When classes were over at 5 p.m., he’d go straight to evening practices. He’d finish his homework around 2 a.m. and repeat the same schedule the next day.
Murillo received his degree in 2011 and began work at USC. He was a high school relations and recruiting specialist, and the director of player personnel for four years. Today, he is USC’s offensive quality control analyst.
In ’17 and ’18, Candaele arranged to have the Warriors football team attend the university’s football camp in Los Angeles. “You have your memories (of playing), when you see the high schoolers come to (USC football) camp, or when they come to practice, there are different memories,” said Murillo. “Then you shoot out a text to one of your boys (former teammates), ‘remember this, remember that,’ it’s all fun,” he explained.