State Coach of Year: Doug Mitchell

State Coach of the Year Doug Mitchell from Bishop Montgomery of Torrance talks to his team during victory over Moreau Catholic in CIF Division IV state final. Photo: Willie Eashman.

State Coach of the Year Doug Mitchell from Bishop Montgomery of Torrance talks to his team during victory over Moreau Catholic in CIF Division IV state final. Photo: Willie Eashman.

His teams at Bishop Montgomery of Torrance have now won three CIF state titles, he’s closing in on 600 career victories and this year’s squad did it without much size after losing eight seniors from the year before.

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There have been some great boys basketball games over the years in Southern California’s Del Rey League between Bishop Montgomery of Torrance and Serra of Gardena.

After the 2010 season when Serra won the CIF Division IV state title, its head coach, Dwan Hurt, was selected as the State Coach of the Year. Now, after the 2014 season when Bishop Montgomery won the CIF Division IV state title, its head coach, Doug Mitchell, has been chosen for the same honor.

Mitchell and Hurt also have both won more than 500 games in their prep careers. This season, though, Mitchell turned in one of his best coaching performances, taking a team that lost eight seniors from a squad that went 32-2 in 2013 and eventually to a state title.

There weren't many tense moments in Bishop Montgomery's state final win, but head coach Doug Mitchell was focused on his team's play throughout. Photo: Willie Eashman.

There weren’t many tense moments in Bishop Montgomery’s state final win, but head coach Doug Mitchell was focused on his team’s play throughout. Photo: Willie Eashman.

“He’s pushing us all the time,” said senior guard Justin Bibbins after the Knights set a state title game record for largest winning margin with their 85-44 victory over Moreau Catholic of Hayward. “His experience really shows in the big games. He just keeps pushing, pushing and gets the most from us.”

This year’s CIF state title is the third for Mitchell. His teams in 2000 and 2001 went back-to-back in Division III behind twins Errick and Derrick Craven. His squad in 2009 also reached the Division IV state final but lost to Salesian of Richmond on a basket at the final horn.

In the first game of last season, Mitchell joined the 500 club with his 500th career victory. That team also went undefeated into the CIF Southern Section playoffs before ending up 32-2. Combined with this year’s record of 28-6, he has upped his career record to 559-149 (including his first two seasons at South of Torrance).

Perhaps what best shows Mitchell’s excellence is that in his 25 seasons as the head coach at Bishop Montgomery his teams have been in the playoffs every year. There also has been 14 league championships.

Among the numerous players that Mitchell has sent along to major colleges are Justin Cobbs and Richard Solomon, who both started this season at Cal.

Last year’s team that finished 32-2 and wa nationally ranked in the Student Sports FAB 50 was clearly more talented. This year, however, Mitchell got the maximum out of his roster, perhaps more than any coach in the state did.

Bishop Montgomery navigated through the murderous SoCal Division IV regional bracket and its 85-44 win in the CIF state title was more of a coronation for a team that rode its star guards and stressed defense on an undersized roster.

“I’ve learned so much from him in my two years on the staff,” said assistant coach Omar Okoli. “Coach really knows how to prepare a team and mentally challenge them. He stresses defense and teaches principles such as fighting through ball screens really well. We got a lot better toward the end of the season.”

BOYS STATE COACHES OF THE YEAR ALL-TIME LIST
(Selected by Cal-Hi Sports)

2014 – Doug Mitchell, Torrance Bishop Montgomery (28-6)
2013 – Mike Haupt, San Diego St. Augustine (29-4)
2012 – Bill Mellis, Richmond Salesian (33-2)
2011 – Eric Cooper, La Verne Lutheran (27-5)
2010 – Dwan Hurt, Gardena Serra (34-2)
2009 – Steve Johnson, Rialto Eisenhower (31-4)
2008 – Dwight Nathaniel, Oakland McClymonds (32-0)
2007 – Harvey Kitani, Los Angeles Fairfax (28-5)
2006 – Peter Diepenbrock, Palo Alto (32-1)
2005 – Pete Newell, Santa Cruz (36-1)
2004 – Don Lippi, Alameda St. Joseph (28-6)
2003 – Zack Jones, San Diego Horizon (32-1)
2002 – Ed Azzam, Los Angeles Westchester (32-2)
2001 – Vance Walberg, Fresno Clovis West (31-3)
2000 – Frank Allocco, Concord De La Salle (31-1)
1999 – Clinton Williams, Oakland Fremont (28-4)
1998 – Jerry DeBusk, Rancho S.M. Santa Margarita (32-2)
1997 – Frank LaPorte, Alameda St. Joseph (31-4)
1996 – Russell Otis, Compton Dominguez (34-2)
1995 – Steve Filios, Mountain View St. Francis (27-8)
1994 – Hank Meyer, Carmichael Jesuit (31-7)
1993 – John Barrette, Palo Alto (31-0)
1992 – Tom Orlich, South Tahoe (30-1)
1991 – Tom McCluskey, Tustin (30-4)
1990 – Lou Cvijanovich, Oxnard Santa Clara (28-0)
1989 – Willie West, L.A. Crenshaw (25-2)
1988 – Reggie Morris, L.A. Manual Arts (27-3)
1987 – Gary McKnight, Santa Ana Mater Dei (31-1)
1986 – Mike Phelps, Oakland Bishop O’Dowd (31-5)
1985 – Stephen Keith, Glendale (28-0)
1984 – Ron Palmer, Long Beach Poly (31-2)
1983 – Jorge Calienes, Rosemead Bosco Tech (25-5)
1982 – Dick Acres, Carson (26-2)
1981 – Maury Halleck, Santa Barbara San Marcos (25-1)
1980 – Leo Allamanno, Oakland Fremont (24-2)
1979 – Dave Shigematsu, Oakland Castlemont (23-3)
1978 – Ben Tapscott, Oakland McClymonds (22-3)
1977 – George Terzian, Pasadena (29-3)
1976 – Bill Armstrong, Palm Springs (22-4)
1975 – John Mihaljevich, Palos Verdes (24-6)
1974 – Dan Risley, Elk Grove (30-0)
1973 – Tom Conway, Stockton Stagg (28-0)
1972 – Tom Cleary, Fresno San Joaquin Memorial (27-2)
1971 – George McQuarn, L.A. Verbum Dei (29-2)
1970 – Spike Hensley, Berkeley (32-0)
1969 – Gordon Nash, La Mesa Helix (29-2)
1968 – Ralph Krafve, East Bakersfield (29-0)
1967 – Frank LaPorte, Oakland Bishop O’Dowd (37-2)
1966 – Len Craven, Whittier Sierra (28-1)
1965 – Leo Allamanno, Oakland Fremont (21-2)
1964 – Bill Mulligan, Long Beach Poly (32-1)
1963 – Bill Armstrong, Compton (27-4)
1962 – Dick Edwards, Sacramento El Camino (23-1)
1961 – Paul Harless, Oakland McClymonds (19-1)
1960 – Bill Thayer, L.A. Fremont (17-1)

List continues back to 1920 in the Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book & Almanac.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports


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