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Legendary Vista teacher-coach Hause to retire

Staff Writer

VISTA ---- Carl Hause promptly got lost when he arrived in North County 40 years ago, searching for the town of Vista where he had been hired for his first school teaching job.

Hause recalls driving along old Vista Way, not realizing that the rural surroundings he viewed were indeed part of a community that would incorporate into a city two years later.

"All I saw was a dairy and a drive-in, and I didn't know where I was," Hause said, remembering the confusing end of his move from Michigan.

"I was about to turn around and head back," he said.

Instead, Hause decided to settle and spend his entire career in the town that would eventually become a bustling city of nearly 90,000 people.

Four decades later, Hause will retire June 15 after becoming one of the most popular and respected educators and athletic coaches in the history of the Vista Unified School District.

Hause, 61, is described as an institution of sorts for being a dedicated educator and sports coach and an inspiring role model for thousands of people connected in some capacity to the Vista school district, say his teaching peers, district administrators, plus current and former students and their parents.

"I guess no one is actually irreplaceable, but if there are such people, Carl is on that list," said Vista High Principal Robert Graeff, who beckoned Hause to be the best man at his wedding six years ago.

Immediately after graduating from Eastern Michigan University in 1961, Hause and his young bride, Marti, headed west.

"The weather was a big factor, and California was the highest-paying state at that time for teachers," he said. "Back then, it was no problem getting a job as a teacher about anywhere you wanted to go."

Hause soon began teaching math and physical education classes at Washington Middle School, where he also coached track and football.

He started coaching track and cross country at Vista High in 1980 and transferred there as a teacher two years later.

From 1987 to 1997, Hause was the school's athletic director. He recalls with relish those years when former football coach Dick Haines led his teams to championship glory.

"He was a master of motivating kids," Hause said of Haines. "He actually changed the whole town because his teams became such a focal point."

Reflecting back on his career, Hause said: "It's been a blast. I just thought I'd teach a couple years and then go onto something else.

"Now, I have mixed feelings about retiring because I draw a lot of energy from the kids. I'm grateful for the all kids I've had the fortune to come into contact with in Vista."

The feeling is mutual, said Crystal Myers and Nancy Trainer, both former students of Hause's math classes who are separated by 28 years in high school graduation dates.

"He was absolutely a dynamite teacher," said Trainer (maiden name Volker), who had Hause for a math teacher in the late 1960s at Washington Middle School.

"What I remember the most was his ability to connect with students," said Trainer, who now is a secretary for the legal firm of Estes & Associates in Vista. "He definitely is one of the teachers that sticks out in my mind because he knew how to have fun with students but get their attention for learning."

Myers, now a senior at Vista High, said Hause made math "clear and exciting" when she took his class two years ago.

"He went all out for us," she said. "He knew all of us and took interest in different aspects of our lives."

Mark Herman, a 22-year math teacher at Vista High and the school's activities director from 1983 to 1994, said Hause showed the same enthusiasm in observing Vista High students in athletics as he did mentoring them in the classroom.

"It seemed like he'd try to take in every game, every match, no matter how far away it may be," Herman said of Hause's tenure as athletic director. "It didn't matter if it was tennis, girls soccer or whatever. Sometimes he would take in three different events in one day. His work ethic and devotion have always been just exceptional."

Hause said he will continue being a sports fan on the scene at Vista High games and matches after his retirement, which will become official July 4.

"I love the competition," he said. "If I saw two people racing to get in a checkout line first at a grocery store, I'd stop to watch them."

Teachers and administrators said Hause stands out as a leader on campus because of his ability to always maintain a cool demeanor while delivering short, concise outlooks on various issues. They said Hause shows that knack while currently serving as chairman of the Vista High Academic Council, a 20-teacher group that acts in an advisory capacity to the principal.

He spurns critics who claim that the public school system is eroding or that students nowadays are lacking in motivation or values.

"Kids are the same. It's just there is more for them to learn," Hause said in a calm, matter-of-fact tone. "They have to grow up faster because they have more choices than before."

He and Marti, his wife of 41 years, have four children who graduated from Vista High. His eldest son, Jeff, is a screenwriter in Hollywood. Eric is studying for the ministry. Eldest daughter Kathy Larsen is the junior varsity field hockey coach at Vista High, and Michele is an elementary school teacher in Alpine.

Hause said he has no exotic travel plans and may be somewhat at a loss getting in rhythm with retirement.

"Since I was 6 years old, my life was been centered around the school year and summer vacation," he said. "The first day when school starts again and I'm retired, I'm going to wake up and say, 'What am I going to do today?'"

Contact staff writer Harry Brooks at (760) 631-6621 or


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