Al Endriss—He was one of the first teachers founding principal Don Kreps hired in 1958, and when he left Redwood 35 years later in 1993, he was the last of the original faculty to go. But far more important than his longevity was the unmatchable legacy he left behind: Albert Endriss is the man who forever put Redwood High School in people’s minds as a baseball powerhouse. Although he coached football for 15 years, it was his 21-year stint as the school’s varsity baseball coach that made him a unanimous and virtually automatic choice as a Hall of Fame inductee:
Endriss enjoyed other honors along the way: he was named North Coast Section Coach of the Year in 1974 and 1975, and California Coach of the Year in 1976. That same year his peers nationwide named him to their highest honor, National High School Coach of the Year.
Along the way, Endriss revealed a knack for coming up with new competitions that soon became fixtures. His Redwood Tournament of Champions, which his own team won twice (197 and 1974), ran for 11 years, from 1964 through 1974. In 1969, he founded the California State All Star Baseball Game, and a year later started up the Marin/Sonoma All Star Baseball Game. Even in 1977, when his team was busy winning 33 of its 36 games and the mythical national title, Endriss managed to find the time to co-found the California/Oklahoma All Star Baseball Game.
His knack for juggling even included guiding other teams besides Redwoods’ to titles. From 1982 through 1987, Endriss coached the College of Marin baseball team—two miles up the road in Kentfield—to six league championships and 10 appearances at the junior college state tournament.
In his life before Redwood, Endriss was a gifted athlete whose life often was the topic of excited locker room talk once his players learned about his background. He played in the Brooklyn Dodgers minor league system for three years, 1949 through 1951, then came west in 1952 to play with the San Francisco 49ers. In 1953, his last year in pro sports, Endriss suited up for a season with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. From there, he became a coach.
After his retirement from Redwood, Endriss kept his hand in the game, coaching both French and German national baseball teams in international tournaments, including a 1998 game against an American team at a competition in Spain.
In a life that has taken him from Canada to the eastern United States to California to Europe, Endriss has wound up surprisingly close to home. These days he lives 15 minutes away from his beloved Redwood High School in Novato.