Dan Bribiescas, one of the most successful soccer coaches in the history of Santa Rosa High School, died suddenly at his Santa Rosa home Saturday evening.
“Our hearts are broken,” said his older brother, John Bribiescas, the longtime Santa Rosa High English teacher and founder of Schools Plus fundraising group.
Dan Bribiescas, who still played the game he loved, had complained of numbness after doing wind sprints Friday in preparation for a match on Sunday.
“It appears to be a massive heart attack, but we don’t know,” his brother said. “Guys are calling in from everywhere. All the boys from Santa Rosa High.”
“The boys” are scores of players the younger Bribiescas coached at Santa Rosa from the late 1980s to 2001, his brother said.
Dan Bribiescas, 56, was part of a new wave of local coaches in the late 1980s and early 1990s who brought to the game not only knowledge but experience.
He was a multi-sport athlete who, as a junior, was on the first soccer team Santa Rosa High ever fielded. When the Panthers won the North Bay League title in his senior year, Bribiescas was named the league’s Most Valuable Player.
Bribiescas went on to play four years of Division II soccer at Chico State. But his hometown drew him back, as did his alma mater.
Bribiescas was an assistant to his former coach before taking the reins and leading the Panthers for more than a decade.
As a head coach, Dan Bribiescas was part of six league title winners and four North Coast Section champions, his brother said. But more than that, he was a friend and father figure to countless student athletes, his brother said.
“So many looked to him as another dad,” he said.
Last weekend, Dan Bribiescas attended the School Plus fundraiser A Night Under the Lights in the company of a bunch of his former players.
Even his opponents on the field had a love and respect for him as player and as a man, his brother said.
Born Aug. 14, 1959, in Santa Rosa to Anne and John Bribiescas, he was the youngest of three children. He excelled as an athlete from an early age, playing football for the Panthers before the school launched its soccer program. He also played baseball.
He worked in finance and left Wells Fargo to open his own corporation, Strategic Currency, which focused on wealth management. He also served as treasurer for the Santa Rosa High School Foundation.
In addition to his brother, Dan Bribiescas is survived by his daughter, Lindsay Bribiescas, a third-generation Santa Rosa High grad and freshman at UCLA; his former wife, Dana Slender, and his sister, Anna Bribiescas of Santa Rosa.
Services are planned but pending.