Local farmer and civic leader honored as Lemoore High Friend of the Tiger

By Ed Martin, The Leader Editor
John Giovannetti and daughter.
John Giovannetti and daughter.

What has motivated John Giovannetti to spend much of his adult life helping kids, whether as a coach, father, or Lemoore Union High School Board Member? “It was always about the kids,” said the silver-haired farmer and community volunteer. “From Little League to youth soccer, I’ve been coaching soccer for 20-plus years. I coached my kids at Island School, MIQ, and Lemoore High School.”

Giovannetti will be honored during the annual Lemoore High Foundation Hall of Fame Inductions on May 10 at 6 p.m. in the school's Event Center. Tickets can be purchased through the LUHS District Office at 5 Powell Street or by calling Diane Messer at 924-6610, ext. 207.

Granted, the guy likes to coach, but there’s more to it than spending time on the sidelines with your kids. He’s spent a lot of years on the sidelines with a bunch of kids. He’s coached from Island School to MIQ, to Lemoore High.

The 67-year-old Giovannetti’s service hasn’t been restricted to just coaching.

Giovannetti, the proud father of Class of 2001 Maureen and 1999 LHS graduate Adam, was a member of the Lemoore Union High School Board of Trustees from 2000 to 2011 before stepping down.  He continues to serve on the Lemoore High School Foundation Board of Directors, joining the board in 2008.

Both Adam and Maureen were top-notch student athletes as well, Adam a track star in the pole vault and a water polo player while Maureen played volleyball and soccer.

Like the Johnny Cash song: He’s been everywhere man, he’s been everywhere.

“I just feel like I need to contribute. I need to do something for the community. This is my adopted town and I love Lemoore, and Lemoore High School obviously is the best. I ran for the board because I thought I could make a difference, and the board has always been very diverse…and we’ve had educators, we’ve had business people, numbers people, real estate people. It makes for good local governance.”

The list of Giovannetti’s contributions is impressive:

  • Stadium restoration committee

  • Assistant coach on the track team coaching pole vault

  • Girls soccer coach, assistant and head coach and was the JV and varsity team mom

  • Board of Trustees for 12 years

  • LHS Foundation member since 2008 and a lifetime Foundation member along with his son and daughter

  • Charter member, donor, volunteer to develop practice fields

  • Kiwanis Track Meet volunteer

The 1968 Santa Clara University graduate arrived in the area in 1971 but didn’t move into Lemoore until 1990. He is a member of a well-known farming family that has been around for over 100 years. They were in the produce business and then expanded to farming in 1951.

He thinks he got his community skills from his parents, particularly his mother Mary Elizabeth who perhaps instilled in him, along with his Jesuit education, a sense of serving the community. “My mom was that way,” he said. “I was the youngest of four boys so I was always at my mom’s apron strings. She was always doing something for somebody else so I guess that’s where I picked it up also.”

Service sort of ran in the family. His father, Blaise Ebner, whom most just called “Buster”, was the mayor of Woodland, a small town up in Yolo County where John was born. He also has a brother E.J. Giovannetti, who was a mayor and county supervisor in Iowa. He also has twin brothers, Don and Ron.

As a youngster he harbored dreams of becoming a lawyer and then a Supreme Court Justice, but took that turn into farming.  “I’ve been fortunate and in a lot of cases, how you measure success, I don’t know, maybe being in the right place at the right time, my coaching, it’s reflected in that also.”

Perhaps his biggest thrill has been coaching. “First of all I like the game. The approach of the coaches I’ve coached with has always been to enjoy the game first.  With the enjoyment of the game winning comes. Our philosophy has always been not to push the game down the kids’ throats because it just doesn’t work that way.”

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