More State Football Coaches of the Year

Coach Rick Jackson of San Diego Madison poses with team after CIF Division III bowl victory.

Coach Rick Jackson of San Diego Madison poses with team after CIF Division III bowl victory.

Here are the choices from among those schools considered medium-size and small. This year’s small schools honoree also makes history for being the first from his section to get the nod.

Congratulations to the following two California coaches for joining Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year Ernie Cooper of Granite Bay as additional honorees for accomplishments by their teams during the 2012 football season.

Medium Schools State Coach of the Year
Rick Jackson (Madison, San Diego)

Not only did Jackson guide his Warhawks to their second San Diego Section Division IV title in three years but they also captured the CIF Division III state championship with a 38-35 win over favored Marin Catholic of Kentfield.

Hired in 2003, Jackson’s teams have gone 74-24 and have won eight league titles in nine seasons. He is the third Medium Schools State Coach of the Year from the San Diego area since 2004, following Sean Doyle of Cathedral Catholic in 2009 and Rob Gilster of Valley Center in 2004.

Jackson’s football playing days were cut short at Mira Mesa of San Diego when he tore his ACL, but he has aspired to be a teacher and coach since early in his college years.

Among those that Jackson has coached at Madison include record-breaking Fresno State running back Robbie Rouse.

Besides leading the ascent of the school’s football program, Jackson also is a full-time biology teacher at the school.

Recent Cal-Hi Sports Medium Schools
State Coaches of the Year
2011 – Rick Prinz (Paradise); 2010 – Paul Cronin (Cardinal Newman, Santa Rosa); 2009 – Sean Doyle (Cathedral Catholic, San Diego); 2008 – Lou Farrar (Charter Oak, Covina); 2007 – Ray Fenton (Cypress); 2006 – Eric Reis (Manteca); 2005 – Robin Luken (Lompoc); 2004 – Rob Gilster (Valley Center); 2003 – Tony Martello (Colfax); 2002 – Tom St. Jacques (Lassen, Susanville); 2001 – Butch Cattolico (Los Gatos); 2000 – Dennis Pugh (Mission Bay, San Diego).

Small Schools State Coach of the Year
Pete Lavorato (Sacred Heart Prep, Atherton)

For the first time, a coach from the CIF Central Coast Section has been chosen as the Cal-Hi Sports Small Schools State Coach of the Year.

Called the “guru of the fly offense” by current San Francisco 49ers’ head coach Jim Harbaugh, Lavorato led the Gators to their fourth league championship and second CIF Central Coast Section Division IV championship in the last three years.

Growing up in Canada, Lavorato ended up playing at Utah State University before playing professionally for the Edmonton Eskimos in the Canadian Football League. On a team that had future NFL Hall of Famer Warren Moon as the quarterback, he was a part of five Grey Cup championships and in 1977 was selected to the CFL All-Star team.

After many coaching jobs in California and Canada in the 1990s, he was hired at Sacred Heart Prep in 2003 (which was not known for football at the time and clearly took a back seat in the sport to arch-rival Menlo School) where he has built the program into a small school perennial power in Northern California.

In his nine seasons at Sacred Heart Prep, Lavorato has a record of 77-28.

Recent Cal-Hi Sports Small Schools
State Coaches of the Year
2011 – Jon Ellinghouse (Sierra Canyon, Chatsworth); 2010 – Mark Louriero (Escalon); 2009 – Jack Moyer (Fort Bragg); 2008 – Frank Marques (Hilmar); 2007 – Kim Jorgensen (Ferndale); 2006 – Travis Brackett (Novato); 2005 – Matt Hunsaker (Central Valley, Shasta Lake); 2004 – Rich Cotruvo (Justin-Siena, Napa); 2003 – Mike Glines (Central Catholic, Modesto); 2002 – Coley Candaele (Carpinteria); 2001 – Dan Finfrock (Arrowhead Christian, Redlands); 2000 – Mike Sparks (Dos Palos).

Comments or corrections? Email markjtennis@gmail.com.


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  1. […] Aptos High grad Ernie Cooper of Granite Bay High was named the CalHiSports.com state coach of the year and Sacred Heart Prep’s Pete Lavorato was named the state’s small-school coach of the year. […]

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