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Honoring a Legend – Establishing a Legacy


Mary Quilici Aumack

Executive Director
Catholic Community Foundation of Santa Clara County


It was such fun to participate in the large and loving party held by the community of Saint Justin in honor of George Santich. The event and those attending recognized George’s 50 years of service as a teacher, coach, mentor, role model and friend.

After graduating from Santa Clara University (SCU), George started his teaching and coaching career at Saint Lawrence. Lore states that there was a mandated haircut, which he refused. Saint Justin welcomed him and his ponytail, and there he has stayed for 48 years. When George started at Saint Justin School, I was in eighth grade. I remember him as soft-spoken and kind.

My brother is known lovingly to generations of Saint Justin families as Coach Joe. He coached and mentored with George for 37 years. Together they developed ball skills and life skills with thousands of athletes, and their families. My brother is now coaching at the high school level. Of course the time with George honed my brother’s coaching skills. Far beyond that, George helped my brother, a single dad, giving him strength and example.

George’s legacy was broadly celebrated at the event. He was honored by Santa Clara University and by the City of Santa Clara. But in the end, it was all about Saint Justin. Candi Diaz and her team produced beautiful blue and gold charger décor. Alumni proudly wore name tags with our years of graduation. We reconnected with fellow students, one of whom, Father Rick Rodoni, was in my brother’s class and is now my pastor. We visited with more recent friends whose children had gone there. I actually learned that some of my SCU friends had taught there early in their careers with George.

The words from Karen Suty and Kathy Almazol showcased George’s incalculable impact on this community. Themes emerged: quiet, understated, faith-filled, strong, exacting, kind. These are the qualities that informed and formed countless students these 50 years. This is what has earned George a rightful reference as LEGEND.

Honoring this legend, and solidifying his legacy, were the goals of the event. The words “legend” and “legacy” come from the Greek for “ambassador.” Like an ambassador, a legacy represents the ideas and values of an individual and carries them into the future.
In recognition of George’s ineffable contributions to Saint Justin, the school has established the George Santich Endowment to benefit Saint Justin School. This is a permanent fund, the grants from which will be used to strengthen the academic and athletic programs of Saint Justin, focusing on the Gospel values upon which the school was founded, and by which all actions and activities are governed.

At the Foundation we speak of FOREVER VALUE, the idea that through endowment we all have the opportunity to remain a part of the institutions we love FOREVER. Doug and I are proud to be a small part of this endowment, honoring George and strengthening my alma mater. If you’d like to contribute, you may do so at https://giving.cfoscc.org/stjustinschool.

Image by Corey Quilici Jones

George has contributed greatly to our family, in countless ways. My sister Corey was already out of Saint Justin when he started, but of course she knows him well because of Coach Joe. In honor of this great man, Corey did a painting of him “cutting down the nets,” a symbol of victory, of a job well done.

Dear George, I wish to publicly thank you on behalf of so many for your faith-based, love-filled gifts to this community. We are all better “players” and “thinkers” because of your ministry.