Ed Croson: State Coach of the Year

State Coach of the Year Ed Croson from Chaminade of West Hills reacts to a play during the CIF Division II state bowl game. His team defeated Enterprise of Redding 41-9. Photo: Scott Kurtz.

State Coach of the Year Ed Croson from Chaminade of West Hills reacts to a play during the CIF Division II bowl game. His team topped Enterprise of Redding 41-9. Photo: Scott Kurtz.

Architect of CIF Division II state title team and No. 3 team in overall final state rankings also is honored for the work he did at former school Birmingham of Lake Balboa.

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There’s a good reason from Ed Croson’s professional background why he has helped sinking high school football programs not only float but rise well above the water.

Before he concentrated on being a high school football coach, Croson was a successful builder of swimming pool complexes, many of them for celebrities, including Arsenio Hall, Lew Wasserman, Jim Belushi and Kenny Loggins.

The coach is now becoming a bit of a celebrity himself. As recognition for guiding his 2013 team at Chaminade of West Hills to the CIF Division II state bowl title and the CIF Southern Section Western Division crown, Croson has been chosen the Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year.

Before Croson arrived at Birmingham of Lake Balboa prior to the 2000 season, the Patriots were mired in mediocrity, having not won a CIF L.A. City Section title since 1963.

At Birmingham, Croson racked up an 84-30 record in nine seasons. This included one stretch of six seasons in which his teams won four L.A. City titles. Birmingham’s 2007 team, which went 13-1, was narrowly bypassed for a berth in the CIF Division I state bowl game in favor of Corona Centennial. That team, though, led by running back Milton Knox, is still regarded as one of the best in the history of the section.

Since Croson had previous history at Chaminade and was comfortable there, he accepted the head coaching job for the 2009 season and moved from Birmingham.

At Chaminade, a school that had gone 3-17 in the previous two seasons and had never won a CIF Southern Section title in its 60 years, Croson again took a team to almost unimaginable heights.

After the Eagles lost in the 2012 CIF Western Division final to league rival Serra of Gardena, they came back with another powerhouse team this season. They lost to Serra once again during league play and by a lopsided 36-0 margin. When facing the Cavaliers in the section final, however, it was a different story. A 27-yard field goal by Ben Kreitenberg with no time on the clock gave Chaminade a 38-35 triumph, ruined thoughts of a Serra-St. John Bosco Open Division bowl game and essentially gave Chaminade the CIF Division II state title.

Although the Eagles still had to face a Hart of Newhall team that they also lost to from earlier in the season, their 28-10 win and then a subsequent 41-9 romp past Enterprise of Redding in the state bowl game were expected in the aftermath of the Serra triumph.

With this year’s 14-2 record added in, Croson has now gone 54-14 in five seasons at Chaminade. Since the 2000 season at Birmingham, he’s also now gone 138-44.

“Coach knows how to win and put guys in the right position,” senior running back Donovan Lee said to L.A. Daily News columnist Jill Painter. “He’s crazy. He’s funny. He loves kids. He’s molded us into young men. He does a lot for us.”

“What works now, I think, is the kids come first,” Croson said in a 2012 article written by Gerry Gittelson of the L.A. Daily News. “It’s high school football, and you’ve got to keep things in perspective. We recognize that at a school like Chaminade, football is not the only thing these kids do. They’re very integrated with their education, and they have a lot of things going on in their lives. Instructors need to be positive. No bullying.”

Note: In recognizing Croson, it’s also obviously important to list Chaminade’s staff. According to the team’s web site, assistant coaches also deserving of accolades are Floyd Peterson (DL), Kevin Davey (DC), Aron Gideon (STC), Paul Sauter (OL), Dennis Keyes (DB), Milton Knox (RB), Robert Harding (QB), Jerome Riley (REC), Howard Shatsky (OLB), Ayinde Bomani (RB), Dylan Lichter (P/K) and Ryan Monroe (ST).

Ed Croson holds up CIF Division II state bowl title trophy at the StubHub Center in Carson. Photo: Scott Kurtz.

Ed Croson holds up CIF Division II state bowl title trophy at the StubHub Center in Carson. Photo: Scott Kurtz.

Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year
All-Time Honor Roll

(All selections by CalHiSports.com)
(Based on research by the late Nelson Tennis, our founder, prior to 1979)

2013 — Ed Croson (Chaminade, West Hills) 14-2
2012 — Ernie Cooper (Granite Bay) 13-3
2011 — Mike Papadopoulos (Vacaville) 13-1
2010 — Earl Hansen (Palo Alto) 14-0
2009 — Jim Benkert (Westlake, Westlake Village) 14-0
2008 — Mike Alberghini (Grant, Sacramento) 14-0
2007 — Ed Buller (Oak Grove, San Jose) 12-1
2006 — Bob McAllister (Carlsbad) 10-0-2
2005 — Harry Welch (Canyon, Canyon Country) 13-1
2004 — Matt Logan (Centennial, Corona) 13-1
2003 — Steve Grady (Loyola, Los Angeles) 11-3
2002 — Kevin Rooney (Notre Dame, Sherman Oaks) 14-0
2001 — Bob Johnson (Mission Viejo) 14-0
2000 — Jerry Jaso (Poly, Long Beach) 14-0
1999 — Mike Herrington (Hart, Newhall) 14-0
1998 — Randy Blankenship (Clovis West, Fresno) 12-1
1997 — John Beam (Skyline, Oakland) 12-0
1996 — Dave Silveira (Alhambra, Martinez) 13-0
1995 — Larry Welsh (Atascadero) 14-0
1994 — Bruce Rollinson (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 14-0
1993 — John Barnes (Los Alamitos) 14-0
1992 — Mark Paredes (Bishop Amat, La Puente) 15-0
1991 — Herb Meyer (El Camino, Oceanside) 13-1
1990 — Pat Preston (Bakersfield) 13-0
1989 — Dick Bruich (Fontana) 14-0
1988 — Norm Dow (Live Oak, Morgan Hill) 11-0-1
1987 — Bennie Edens (Point Loma, San Diego) 13-0
1986 — Bob Ladouceur (De La Salle, Concord) 12-0
1985 — Charlie Wedemeyer (Los Gatos) 13-1
1984 — Tim Simons (Clovis) 12-0-1
1983 — Ron Calcagno (St. Francis, Mountain View) 13-0
1982 — Wayne Schneider (Tracy) 12-1
1981 — Marijon Ancich (St. Paul, Santa Fe Springs) 14-0
1980 — Bill Workman (Edison, Huntington Beach) 14-0
1979 — Ron Lancaster (Cordova, Rancho Cordova) 13-0
1978 — Jerry Deuker (Pinole Valley, Pinole) 11-1
1977 — Chris Ferragamo (Banning, Wilmington) 11-1-1
1976 — Benny Pierce (Saratoga) 13-0
1975 — Ed Lloyd (Cardinal Newman, Santa Rosa) 12-0
1974 — Dick Haines (Vista) 13-0
1973 — Dwayne DeSpain (Los Altos, Hacienda Heights) 12-0-1
1972 — Bob Hitchcock (Temple City) 13-0
1971 — Gene Vollnogle (Carson) 12-0
1970 — Jack Neumeier (Granada Hills) 11-1
1969 — Forrest Klein (Alameda) 9-0
1968 — Tom Burt (Los Altos) 9-0
1967 — Clare Van Hoorebeke (Anaheim) 12-1
1966 — Ernie Johnson (El Rancho, Pico Rivera) 13-0
1965 — Dick Coury (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 12-0-1
1964 — John Hanna (Bellarmine, San Jose) 10-0
1963 — Paul Briggs (Bakersfield) 9-0
1962 — Bob Berry (Willow Glen, San Jose) 9-0
1961 — Joe Marvin (Sequoia, Redwood City) 9-0
1960 — Sam Cathcart (Santa Barbara) 11-1
1959 — Dave Levy (Long Beach Poly) 11-0
1958 — Paul Huebner (Banning, Wilmington) 11-0
1957 — Johnny Johnson (Oroville) 9-0
1956 — Dick Hill (Downey) 12-0-1
1955 — Duane Maley (San Diego) 11-0-1
1954 — Aaron Wade (Centennial, Compton) 10-1-1
1953 — Milt Axt (Poly, San Francisco) 10-0
1952 — Fred Moffett (Berkeley) 9-0
1951 — Hod Ray (Palo Alto) 8-0
1950 — Ernie Busch (Merced) 11-0
1949 — Bob Patterson (Vallejo) 10-0
1948 — Harry Edelson (Fremont, Los Angeles) 9-0-1
1947 — Jim Sutherland (Santa Monica) 12-0
1946 — George Hobbs (Alhambra) 12-0
1945 — Colon Kilby (Vallejo) 10-0
1944 – Bert LaBrucherie (Los Angeles) 7-0
1943 – Larry Siemering (Stockton) 10-0
1942 – Brick Johnson (Piedmont) 7-0
1941 – Roy Richert (Castlemont, Oakland) 5-0-1
1940 – Clarence Schutte (Santa Barbara) 9-1
1939 – Palmer Muhl (Woodland) 8-0
1938 – Ras Johnson (Galileo, San Francisco) 8-0-1
1937 – Jim Blewett (Manual Arts, Los Angeles) 8-0
1936 – Harlan Lee (Red Bluff) 7-0-1
1935 – Paul Hungerford (Poly, San Francisco) 9-0
1934 – Orian Landreth (Long Beach Poly, Long Beach) 12-1
1933 – Dick Arnett (Inglewood) 8-2-1
1932 – Harry Shipkey (Salinas) 11-0
1931 – Tex Oliver (Santa Ana) 13-0
1930 – John Price (Bonita, La Verne) 10-0

List continues back to 1896 in CalHiSports.com 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 him on Twitter: @CalHiSports

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