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Mike Setnan Says Sayonara

After spending five years illuminating MC’s campus with his presence, beloved security guard and coach Mike Setnan has found himself on a pathway towards retirement. 

Setnan spent most of his career serving in air traffic control, working for five and a half years in the Marine Corps and 25 years in the Department of Defense. Following his retirement from air traffic control, Setnan began his journey as part of MC’s staff. He found significant parallels between the two jobs, especially in respect to teamwork. 

Mike Setnan | Photo Courtesy of Mt. Carmel High School

“The Sundevil Way goes along with everything I’ve been taught, whether it was in the Marine Corps or on an athletic team,” Setnan said. “[It is] to be a part of the team, to think of others more than yourself.” 

While the Sundevil family taught Setnan about teamwork and selflessness, he was also able to teach the members of the MC community impactful moral lessons – especially regarding the larger picture of life.

“I say, ‘don’t let this get in the way of that.’ What I mean by that is, don’t do something you will regret later in life here in high school, [something] that may prevent you from getting to your destination,” Setnan said. “Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in something that you don’t need to or is in the wrong direction of the track that you should be on.”

When he was not spreading his golden advice, Setnan worked with athletes on girls’ golf, boys’ varsity basketball, and boys’ varsity lacrosse. His role as a coach, as a result, distinguished the valuable relationship he held with students. 

“You get a different relationship with the kids when you’re coaching, you get a little bit closer. You get almost more like a parent relationship,” Setnan said. “I call it putting my dad hat on. Sometimes you get to be that kind of a mentor as well as a coach.” 

Through his exposure to the Sundevil Way and treasured connections with students, Setnan developed an emotive attachment to his time at MC. Consequently, the act of saying goodbye comes with its own sentimental difficulty. 

Setnan interacting with Sundevils on campus | Photo Courtesy of Prisha Puntambekar

“I’ve gotten a few kids to come up to me that found out that I’m retiring, and it’s been a little emotional because I noticed that I’ve made an impact in the kids’ lives,” Setnan said. “I’m happy for that, but sad that I’m leaving.” 

However, Setnan’s future will not remain entirely obsolete from MC. In the upcoming year, he looks forward to continuing his role as a coach for basketball. Outside of coaching, his other retirement plans remain fruitful and lively. Setnan intends to spend time on the golf course and pursue a real estate business in Reno, Nevada, while staying based in San Diego. 

From his warm welcomes at the front of campus to the rides students cherished on the back of his golf cart, Setnan left an invaluable mark on the Sundevil community. Beyond fulfilling the roles of a security guard and a coach, he served a far more crucial role in the lives of MC students. Setnan became not only a guide for many, but also a friend. Undoubtedly, students and staff will miss the smiling face under an all-too-familiar baseball hat.  

About Prisha Puntambekar

Sophomore Prisha Puntambekar has enjoyed writing from a young age. Outside of journalism, she's the Vice President of Sundevils for Senior Citizens Club, the Co-President of Mental Wellness Club, and a harsh critic of Twinkies.

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