Blogging San Diego
What else is there to say about Lew Bush that hasn’t already been said? Well, actually a lot.
As most Charger fans already know, “Sweet” Lew Bush was part of the best Charger team ever. I say this with confidence, because it was the only Charger team to advance to the Big Game (you know the one I’m talking about). Lew was not part of “One of the best teams ever not to go to the Super Bowl” (a backhanded compliment indeed), but part of the team that actually made it to the Super Bowl at the end of the 1994 season. It was a great game I am sure, but for the life of me, I can’t really recall how that one ended…
If any of this information is news to you, you may want to start with a little bit of Chargers History before proceeding.
Sweet Lew was a stalwart Linebacker with the Chargers from 1993-2000, at which point he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. KC head coach at the time? Current Charger Head coach, Norv Turner. Norv is no Bobby Ross.
During Lew’s time in San Diego, he not only added to his reputation on the field, but also off. When he was not busy making lineman look like they were roller skating backwards, and eating their quarterbacks, Lew could be found donating his time to organizations such as The Boys and Girls Club, Big Brother/Sisters of San Diego, and providing outreach to the homless families of San Diego.
On top of his on and off the field contributions, Lew also found the time to operate one of the best BBQ joints in San Diego, Sweet Lew’s BBQ.
What follows are a couple of questions Lew was cool enough to answer for me, a true Charger Fan.
What are you up to these days Lew?
I am currently working with a company that creates artificial replacement parts for patients with back problems, specifically pertaining to the spine.
You were always very involved with the community off the field, are you still?
Most definitely. I think that giving back is one of the most important things we can do. I was blessed to be able to do what I love for as long as I did, so I give back as a way to say thank you.
Obviously, Sweet Lews BBQ will always be #1 when it comes down to it, So,who is #2 for BBq in San Diego?
How to you spend your free time?
I still love cooking, love taking the kids fishing, and learning about photography.
And finally, a hardball question.
Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton…. Real mustache?
No, I don’t think it’s real. In fact, I am pretty sure Hacksaw is a Cyborg. With his age, and how he continues to hustle, he must be a machine!
Our conversation ended with Lew offering to buy me a beer, which I had to decline, as my plane had already finished boarding. I thanked Lew, sprinted like the wind (a stagnant wind at best), and barely made it to the gate. The glares of the seated passengers I passed (and abused with my swinging luggage), were all worth the time I got to spend with one of my all time favorite Chargers, Sweet Lew.
Feel like following Lew?
Do you remember Sweet Lews BBQ? Add your memories to the Fan Page
Brendan is a freelance blogger, and owner of MissionBeachRentals.Net.
If you have a San Diego notable that you would like me to feature, please reach out!
This girl just heard the news about our “free at 500″ give away, and is obviously ecstatic about it! We are looking for our closest 500 raving fans. As a thank you for your support, we are giving away a free stay at one of our beach rentals! To qualify, please “Like” our Fan page, and share it with your friends, the sooner we get to 500 raving fans, the sooner we give away the free stay! More details to follow….
For More information on our give-a-way, please click Here
There is no purchase necessary to qualify. Winner of our Beach getaway must be 25 years of age. In the case of a minor winning, they must be accompanied by their parents, or legal guardian(s).
There is a $400 refundable deposit due before check in, to cover any incedental damages incurred during the stay. This will be refunded within 4 weeks of conclusion of your stay.
Package includes cost of rental, transient tax and cleaning. “All inclusive”.
All of our rentals are fully stocked with kitchen utensils, and linens, including bedding and towels.
For more information on our policies, please
As the San Diego landscape has changed over the past 60 odd years, from farms to freeways, Condors to Condos, few things have remained constant in Americas Finest City. The things that have, can rightfully be called treasures. Most of these treasures, like the Presidio for one example, are objects created from brick and mortar, built to withstand the test of time. The treasure I write about is not man made my dear readers, but a maker of MEN. Much as the Mason mixes his concrete to strengthen the foundation of his structures, This treasure has mixed his wisdom, love and coaching ability to create the foundation of many of todays most respected San Diegans.
This San Diego treasure is William “Bill” Whittaker, known to most that know him, simply as “Coach”.
I was not intimidated by Coach the first time I met him. Then again, I had no idea of his legacy. My girlfriend at the time, Lisa, had told me that her Grandpa coached, but little else. As I have come to know and love him, I realize now that thinking of Coach Whittaker just as a “coach” would be like thinking of Shamu just as a “fish”.
Here in front of me, sat an unassuming, smiling older gentleman. To be honest, he looked to me a lot like Wilford Brimely (ala Pop Fisher). I knew that he was Coaching at a local Catholic School, St. Augustines, (“Saints”), but little else.
Naturally, we talked about high school sports. I was part of the only undefeated JV football team to come out of Grossmont High School (at least as far as I care to research), so I was more than happy to hear and swap stories.
“You went to Grossmont, huh? You must have played for Coach Ralph” Coach Ralph was in fact one of my football coaches, so I replied affirmatively. Our conversation ended a short time later, and we departed with a hug.
A few days later, Lisa gets a phone call. “Here, it’s grandpa, he wants to talk to you”.
“Hi Coach!” I say smiling nervously through the phone.
“Well…, it looks like your story checks out” says the gruff and to-the-point voice on the other end of the line.
“Pardon Me?” I squeaked out. I wasn’t sure what he was getting at, and this was adding a slight twitch to my nervous smile.
“Your story checks out. Jerry(Ralph) coaches over here at Saints with me now. He said you were a stand up guy. Not the biggest lineman he ever coached, but you had heart”.
From that moment on, Coach became a menotor and role model to me.
A couple quick hit facts about Coach Whittaker
-Coach is the longest term employee in the History of San Diego, a career spent entirely in the Recreation Dept.
-Has 2 baseball fields in San Diego named after him. One in Claremont, one in Balboa Park (Morely Field).
-Hall of Champions Inductee, 2004.
-Bill Whitaker Day is celebrated in San Diego on May fifth (Cinco de Mayo no less)
-Married his wife Jacqueline because she could hit a baseball
-Helped to raise 7 offspring, with said wife. I say helped, but Coach gives all credit to Jacqueline.
-His Cousin is Shotgun Tom Kelly
-Used a paddle on one of his ball players for dating his daughter (Now that “player” is my father in law)
-Has Coached close to 40 young men, that went on to coach in San Diego. One of which was the Legendary Vic Player
-Has coached many kids into the big leauges, including; The Nettles brothers (Graig and Jim), Bob Cluck, Bob Spence, John Wathan, Daren Johnson, John D’ Acquisto and so many others.
Being a history buff (the .75 cent raise I got for having a History degree should serve as testament), I asked coach if he would mind discussing some of his fondest memories with me.
Who would you say was the most gifted athlete you ever coached?.
“Well, I can narrow it down to 2. Bob Spence, and Sam Owens. As an overall athlete, one that could play anything, I would have to give it to Sam”. The thing about Coach Whittaker is, that if you played for him, he remembered you. “Sam ended up going to Oregon on an athletic scholarship, then played a year in the CFL.”
What would you say is the most important trait you have seen in the “best” athletes you have coached?
Well, I would have to say that Charisma is one of the most important traits. The guys that enjoyed people, made an effort to extend themselves, and didn’t accept setbacks, seem to be the ones that succeed in life. The “pouters”, the “poor me’s” and the ones who got wrapped up in themselves, tended to have a rougher go of things, in athletics, and in general. If you lose a game, you gotta get back out there and try to win again tomorrow”.
The great thing about Coach is that he is a San Diego treasure that is always on display, and can still be seen coaching the stars of tomorrow, at Morely Field.
More info on this San Diego Treasure