By Patrick Cochran
Over the past weekend the City College community learned of the devastating passing of John Balano, who was 62 years old. Balano served as the strength and conditioning coach for the men’s and women’s intercollegiate teams for the past 17 years.
“John’s impact on the college was just tremendous,” City College Athletic Director Dan Hayes said. “Since the time he came here we have won a lot of championships and he helped play a role in every single one of them.”
Balano also spent time as an assistant football coach and helped guide the Rams to four national championships in the year 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2011. A close companion of former football coach George Rush, Balano often drove around Rush in a cart during practice ferrying the coach from drill to drill.
During his tenure as strength and conditioning coach, Balano was responsible for the training of thousands of student athletes at City College. He helped them with injury prevention, rehab from injuries and nutritional guidance.
Balano’s impact reached far beyond the athletic department and even may help to save lives. Five years ago, Balano was approached by the CCSF Administration of Justice and Fire Science Department to help them develop a physically rigorous class for public safety students. Balano came up with Physical Education 29 (Firefighting/Public Safety Conditioning) to train he future firefighters. His assistance helped prepare hundreds of public safety students to pass the physical exam needed to enter police and fire departments throughout California.
Besides PE 29, Balano helped develop numerous other PE classes that help students stay in shape.
Outside of City College, Balano had a lucrative side job as a one-on-one trainer for professional athletes. Balano helped train notable athletes such as former Dallas Cowboy safety, Roy Williams, and former San Francisco Giant, Shawon Dunston.
Balano will be sorely missed by his former colleagues.
“He had just such a great spirit,” Hayes said. “One day he was around here, and the next day he’s gone. That’s just how life is sometimes, but it just happened so sudden. He will be missed by everyone here.”