Malik McCord: State Coach of the Year

Malik McCord with son Jordan at the press conference following Bishop O'Dowd's victory over Windward in the first ever Open Division title game. McCord is this year's State Coach of the Year.

Malik McCord with son Jordan at the press conference following Bishop O’Dowd’s victory over Windward in the first ever CIF Open Division title game. McCord is this year’s State Coach of the Year. Photo: Willie Eashman

A solid group of young coaches led by Bishop O’Dowd’s Malik McCord are honored this year, including a rare first-year head coach, two with four years experience, one with five, and the veteran of the group with seven.

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Last year’s Cal-Hi Sports Division III State Coach of the Year is a rare repeat honoree.

The twist is that same coach, Malik McCord of Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland), has been named the 2012-13 Cal-Hi Sports Girls State Coach of the Year.

The married father of one son, and high school mental health counselor and personal trainer in his day job, becomes the fourth coach from the CIF North Coast Section and seventh from the Bay Area to earn the honor in just his fourth year on the job.

Spike Hensley (1980 at Berkeley), Gene Nakamura (1991 at Berkeley) and Ron Hirschman (2009 at Danville Monte Vista) are the other NCS winners. Mike Ciardella (Atherton Sacred Heart Prep in 1994), Sue Phillips (1999 at San Jose Archbishop Mitty) and Brian Harrigan (2006 at San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral) are the Bay Area CIF Central Coast Section honorees.

“Cool, cool, cool, that’s awesome,” said McCord Wednesday morning when informed he had won. “I don’t aspire for personal coaching honors. It’s another award for the team and the coaching staff. If I win something, it’s for the program.”

It’s a program that has now won two consecutive state championships after the Dragons defeated Los Angeles Windward 60-45 in the inaugural CIF Open Division title game last month in Sacramento. McCord’s team also routed Laguna Hills two years ago for the CIF Division III championship.

In his four seasons at the Dragons’ helm, McCord has compiled a 112-18 record, won four league titles, four CIFNCS titles, two state championships, and a state runner-up three years ago.

After playing some pro ball overseas, and then getting into personal training, McCord became interested in coaching girls.

“I tried my hand at pro ball and that’s what got me interested in training and coaching,” McCord said. “I love working with young ladies. The girls listen better.”

Following a few years coaching girls CYO and AAU basketball in the East Bay, the Norfolk State alum joined the O’Dowd coaching staff six years ago as an assistant knowing the school’s administration was looking for a woman to eventually take over.

“I knew they wanted a female coach so I came in with the idea that I wanted to make sure they wouldn’t be looking for anyone else.”

Two years into it, and then after the head coach at the time had to retire after heart surgery, McCord got the job. The rest is history.

“The only girl I knew that was coming to O’Dowd was Breanna Brown. I didn’t see Oderah (Chidom) or KC (Waters) until the first day of open gym. Ariell Bostick was going to Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco), but she didn’t want to get up at 5 a.m. to take BART.”

It’s no surprise McCord is a hot coaching commodity because of his experience and background.

“After we won the state championship last year, some parents came up to me before this year and thanked me for coming back. I had offers to coach boys high school over the summer, but I’m thinking, I’m not leaving after a state championship. Everything happens for a reason and I’m blessed to be at O’Dowd. It’s God’s plan for me and I’m enjoying it.”

Future Plans

That doesn’t mean McCord doesn’t aspire to go higher in his profession.

“I’m always up for challenges and it’s definitely in my future. I see myself coaching college and it’s something I want to do, but I’m happy at O’Dowd right now. When I came in, I had a five-year plan I gave to the AD and we’re right on track.”

Advice For Young Players

“When I was playing in high school, I had a ton of offers until they requested my transcripts. I was a 6-foot-3 guard with no grades and the offers disappeared. That’s exactly why I preach you have to take care of business in the classroom.”

Next Season

Losing four Division I players will mean some re-building, but McCord returns Asha Thomas, one of the highest rated sophomore guards in the state, and Aisia Robertson, another talented sophomore guard.

It remains to be seen what McCord will do in year five of the five-year plan, but he’s not planning on changing anything.

“It hasn’t been just a talented team, it’s a great program. The girls are buying into the system, they’re getting it, and it’s the moments when they get it that are the most satisfying for me.”

Most likely as satisfying as being named State Coach of the Year.

Below is the complete slate of Cal-Hi Sports State Coaches of the Year for girls basketball:

Division I
Anders Anderson (Etiwanda)

Following four very successful years on the job Anders Anderson is this year’s selection for the Division I honors.

“Oh my, that’s unbelievable,” Anderson told Cal-Hi Sports when informed he won.

After losing 57-51 to Long Beach Poly in the CIF Southern Regional Division I quarterfinals, Anderson’s team completed a 28-4 season playing one of the state’s tougher schedules that included three state champions that Etiwanda went 3-2 against.

Along the way, his girls had a win against Long Beach Poly in the CIF Southern Section Division 1-AA quarterfinals, and then followed that up with an upset of then state and national No. 1 ranked Mater Dei (Santa Ana) in the semifinals.

In his four years, the Eagles have gone 99-20 overall and 39-1 in league, winning four league titles.

The road to how he became the head coach at Etiwanda is one interesting story in itself.

After nine years coaching boys at Alta Loma, four as head coach, Anderson was involved in a serious auto accident one day after his son was born.

“I was t-boned, the car rolled over, and I was badly injured. Afterward I was very emotional. I thought Etiwanda is only two miles away from the house and my kids will be going there. I wanted to come to Etiwanda because it would be an opportunity to be on campus with my kids.”

His daughter Ashton Anderson graduated last year and is now playing at Chico State. Alyssa Anderson, a 6-foot wing, will be a senior this fall.

A teaching job opened up at Etiwanda so he applied. To help insure he’d beat out others applying, Anders told the principal he would coach freshman girls. After Anderson was hired, the head coach at the time wanted him to coach JV instead.

Then in front of the Cal-Hi Sports Caravan at the San Diego Classic, the head coach walked off after the second game of the tournament, forcing Anderson to literally come out of the stands to assume the reins.

Division II
Michele Massari (Sacramento)

For the first four seasons Massari was head coach, Sacramento was in Division III.

Now, with the school moving up a division in her fifth season, and after leading the team to a 27-5 record (14-0 in Metro League) and a NorCal Open Division playoff appearance, the former college assistant is this year’s Division II choice.

Massari has a 132-35 career record with three consecutive CIF Sac-Joaquin Section titles. The team has also won the Metro League each year of her tenure with a 62-0 combined record.

After winning 23 games in her first season, the Dragons have won at least 27 games for four straight seasons playing a rigorous schedule, including five appearances in the Platinum Division of the West Coast Jamboree.

Before being hired as head coach at Sacramento, Massari was an assistant at UC Davis, Chico State and Chico Pleasant Valley.

Serra's McKinsey Hadley

Serra’s McKinsey Hadley

Division III
Malik McCord (Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland)

He also has been chosen as the Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year, including all divisions. That is the only way a divisional winner from one year can be chosen again for the same division the next year.

Division IV
McKinsey Hadley (Serra, Gardena)

Since taking over as head coach at Serra in 2007, Hadley has transformed the program from one with a losing record to a SoCal Division IV power in the mix for a state championship the past four years.

Although its string of three consecutive CIF Southern Section Division IV championships was broken by Windward this past season, Hadley guided the Lady Cavs through the Windward-less Southern California Division IV regionals and then to a 62-60 victory over Richmond Salesian in the Division IV state title game.

During the four-year run of either a section or state title, Hadley’s Lady Cavaliers have posted a 114-24 record while winning at least 26 games each season. His overall career record at Serra is 136-50.

Division V
Alicia Komaki (Sierra Canyon, Chatsworth)

“Thank you so much. That’s very exciting news,” Komaki told Cal-Hi Sports when informed of her honor.

Playing the toughest schedule of any Division V team in the state, the Trailblazers went 27-9 against a big slate of larger schools, and 8-2 in a league that included Windward. The season culminated in a 47-33 victory over Los Altos Pinewood in the Division V state championship in Komaki’s first season.

Rarely is a first year coach honored, but Komaki is not your ordinary first year coach.

After graduating from Troy (Fullerton) where she played for 2003 State Coach of the Year Kevin Kiernan, Komaki began coaching with him at Troy at 19 years old after blowing out her knee at Pepperdine her freshman season.

When Kiernan left for Mater Dei (Santa Ana), Komaki stayed  on for three years as associate head coach alongside current Troy head coach Roger Anderson while she attended Long Beach State.

She then joined Kiernan at Mater Dei where she assisted on two state championship teams before winning her own at Sierra Canyon.

“Awesome, well deserved,” said Kiernan in a text message. “A very smart, bright woman. She’s established herself as a terrific coach with a very bright future.”

(Selected by Cal-Hi Sports)

2013 – Malik McCord, Oakland Bishop O’Dowd (30-3)
2012 – Terri Bamford, La Jolla Country Day (32-1)
2011 – Steve Smith, Los Angeles Windward (29-4)
2010 – Melissa Hearlihy, North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake (34-1)
2009 – Ron Hirschman, Danville Monte Vista (29-3)
2008 – Lorene Morgan, Long Beach Millikan (28-5)
2007 – Carl Buggs, Long Beach Poly (36-1)
2006 – Brian Harrigan, San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral (30-2)
2005 – Richard Wiard, La Puente Bishop Amat (35-0)
2004 – Tom Gonsalves, Stockton St. Mary’s (32-4)
2003 – Kevin Kiernan, Fullerton Troy (31-2)
2002 – Lisa Cooper, Torrance Bishop Montgomery (28-5)
2001 – Dwayne Tubbs, Hanford (31-2)
2000 – James Anderson, Harbor City Narbonne (34-0)
1999 – Sue Phillips, San Jose Mitty (31-0)
1998 – Jeff Sink, Brea Brea-Olinda (33-1)
1997 – Yvette Angel, Torrance Bishop Montgomery (29-3)
1996 – Mary Hauser, Santa Ana Mater Dei (29-3)
1995 – Scott Brown, Moraga Campolindo (32-3)
1994 – Mike Ciardella, Atherton Sacred Heart Prep (38-0)
1993 – Ellis Barfield, Lynwood (31-0)
1992 – Wendell Yoshida, RH Estates Peninsula (33-0)
1991 – Gene Nakamura, Berkeley (30-2)
1990 – Frank Scott, Inglewood Morningside (32-3)
1989 – Mark Trakh, Brea Brea-Olinda (31-2)
1988 – Richard Hull, Willows (26-4)
1987 – Lee Trepanier, San Diego Pt. Loma (34-0)
1986 – Van Girard, Lynwood (28-4)
1985 – Tom Campbell, Chico Pleasant Valley (28-0)
1984 – Joe Vaughan, Ventura Buena (31-0)
1983 – Larry Newman, Anderson (26-1)
1982 – Tom Pryor, Cerritos Gahr (29-5)
1981 – Art Webb, L.A. Locke (19-2)
1980 – Spike Hensley, Berkeley (29-0)
1979 – Harvey Green, Woodland Hills El Camino Real (19-0)
1978 – Joanne Kellogg, Huntington Beach (25-2)
1977 – Tami Yasuda, Fair Oaks Bella Vista (30-1)
1976 – Chuck Shively, Ventura (23-0)
1975 – Janet Balsley, San Diego Pt. Loma (34-0)
1974 – No selection
1973 – Mary Brown, Fresno San Joaquin Memorial (12-0)
1972 – Judy Hartz, Ventura Buena (8-0)

Paul Muyskens contributed to this report

Harold Abend is the associate editor of and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend

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  1. socaljunkie
    Posted April 10, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Great list but a little underwhelmed at O’Dowds coach, just as I think he underachieved most seasons with that squad.

    • UncleHarold
      Posted April 11, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      I disagree…if you read the story, and then read into it the circumstances he came in under four year’s ago, you’ll realize he’s had to grow with the team as they matured…he’s the one that had them ready to dismantle Windward in the second meeting…he did the best job of any coach in the state and his girls finally took care of business…remember, their point guard was at a family function and missed the two losses at the TOC, so that’s a factor as well…

  2. fan of windward
    Posted April 11, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I am baffled by the selection of Coach Hadley as the Coach of the Year for Division IV over Coach Nygaard at Windward — what am I missing in the logic of this selection — Windward was unranked coming into the year following the graduation of Imani Stafford and Paris Baird, played all season with a short squad due to school size and injuries and went 32-1 losing only a rematch to O’Dowd in Open Finals — The team was ranked 2 in the state, top 5-10 in all polls , blew Serra off the court in CIF Finals (85-57) and beat them handily at Oaks Christian, beat Poly twice, won its bracket at TOC, Beat O’Dowd at Oaks Christian and beat Mater Dei convincingly in Open Division Southern Region finals. Perhaps there is something in the selection criteria I don’t understand –Coach Nygaard did a phenomenal job with her undersized undermanned team and had Windward not been bumped to Opens I think most high school girls fans would acknowledge they would have knocked off Serra a third time in Division IV States — what gives ?????

    • Posted April 11, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Vanessa Nygaard did a great job, to be sure, but in this case it was her first season, Windward did have the D4 player of the year and state junior of the year plus Jaco plus Simon so it’s not like it was some huge surprise. We also strive to spread out coaching honors as much as possible and Windward also had the state overall coach of the year just a couple of years ago. Coach Hadley has done a great job building up the Serra program for seven years. If people believe that coaching honors should never be spread out and give it to the same person or same school over and over again no matter what, then that’s just a policy we don’t follow. If Vanessa keeps on winning, believe me, we’ll have her on one of the all-time lists. Thanks for writing.

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