POINT MUGU, Calif. – Jack Willard, the head football coach at Camarillo High School, is scheduled to fly with the Blue Angels on Sept. 23 as part of the squadron’s “Key Influencers” program.
Willard, 57, will fly in an FA-18D Hornet that is part of the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron performing at the Point Mugu Air Show on Sept. 26-27. His flight is expected to last about an hour.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” Willard said. “I remember being a little guy with my parents at the air show and being amazed watching those guys.”
While Willard said he has never had any desire to become a jet pilot, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“I’m scared. I’m excited. I’m nervous,” Willard said.
Navy officials said in a statement that the Blue Angels’ “Key Influencers” flight is designed to highlight someone in the local area who has given of themselves to make a difference in someone’s life and help shape attitudes and opinions of young people.
Willard has spent 34 years teaching in Southern California schools, 28 of them teaching English. He has been at Camarillo High for 25 years and also coached and taught at Rio Mesa, Newbury Park and Channel Islands high schools.
In addition to coaching football, Willard has been a head coach for the girls basketball team for four years, a baseball coach for five years and a softball coach for 11 years, all at Camarillo High.
Willard graduated from Camarillo High in 1976. He graduated from California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks with a degree in English and received his teaching credential in 1981. He received his master’s degree in education, with an emphasis in physical education, from Azusa Pacific University. Married with three daughters, he lives in Camarillo.