With the updated totals for Ed Azzam of L.A. Westchester getting re-set on Saturday and with Tom Hofman of La Canada winning his 600th game on Friday night, here is a special updated version of the Cal-Hi Sports’ exclusive list of the state’s all-time best boys coaches in California.
For more on career of Westchester’s Ed Azzam and comparisons to L.A. City legend Willie West, CLICK HERE.
One night before Ed Azzam from Westchester of Los Angeles had his career coaching record updated with 46 less victories, thus delaying an anticipated celebration of him passing Crenshaw’s Willie West for the L.A. City record, the all-time state list of boys basketball coaches with 600 or more career wins gained a new member when La Canada defeated La Salle of Pasadena 73-62 on Friday night.
La Canada’s Tom Hofman earned his 600th win in a career that began at the school during the 1986-87 season. Hofman was presented with plaques by both the La Canada City Council and school officials after the game.
“It shows I’m getting a little bit old,” Hofman told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. “To be here this long you have to have great kids. That’s the situation. I do not want to be anywhere else. I’ve had great community support all these years. But it’s just great kids. That’s what this is all about. It’s not the coach.”
All great coaches like Hofman believe that, but celebrating their accomplishments is important to their school communities and their families. The coaches themselves often are responsible for reporting their records – to a point – because we ask them for them on coaching questionnaires. Once they reach close to 500 reported wins, only then do we start tracking them year-by-year.
In some cases, we do go back and look up information from other sources and in the case of Azzam it was double-checked earlier on Saturday by Ronnie Flores with historian Bruce McIntosh, who is more known for having every football score in California history but who also is an L.A. City guy and has all-time L.A. City scores in many other sports, including boys basketball.
What many in the media continue to fail to realize and hardly ever acknowledge is that there would be no state records in California without the research of people like Bruce and the late Nelson Tennis, who founded Cal-Hi Sports in the 1970s partly as a vehicle to provide state records for California high school sports. Nelson worked for 30 years of his life on California state records and we will continue to remind media members to credit CalHiSports.com for this state record information. Thank you.
Most Boys Basketball Career Coaching Wins
(Varsity wins only; California wins only; Credit: Cal-Hi Sports or CalHiSports.com)
976 – Gary McKnight, Santa Ana Mater Dei, 1983-2014 (976-85) (current)
843 – Mike Phelps, Alameda St. Joseph, 1971-78 & Oakland Bishop O’Dowd, 1979-1990, 1992-2003 (843-196)
829 – Lou Cvijanovich, Oxnard Santa Clara, 1959-1999 (829-261)
803 – Willie West, Los Angeles Crenshaw, 1971-2007 (803-140)
802 – Abe Abrami, Emeryville Emery, 1955-1993
796 – Mike LeDuc, La Verne Damien, 1980-86 & Glendora, 1987-1992, 1994-2014 (796-208) (current)
785 – Tom Orlich, South Lake Tahoe, 1976-2000 & Fresno Clovis West, 2002-2014 (current)
758 – Ed Azzam, Los Angeles Westchester, 1980-2014 (758-232) (current)
747 – Ray Johnson, Oceanside El Camino, 1981-2009, 2011-14 (747-224) (current)
742 – Don Lippi, Alameda St. Joseph, 1980, Vallejo St. Patrick-St. Vincent, 1982-86, Oakland Skyline, 1987-1990, San Francisco St. Ignatius, 1991-2003 & Alameda St. Joseph, 2004-2014 (742-245) (current)
735 – Frank LaPorte, Oakland Bishop O’Dowd, 1960-1970 & Alameda St. Joseph, 1982-1997 (735-172)
717 – Joe Chappell, San Leandro (two seasons) & Salinas, 1971-2012 (41-year record at Salinas 687-420)
686 – Harvey Kitani, San Fernando, 1980, & Los Angeles Fairfax, 1982-2014 (686-245)(current)
684 – Steve Cain, Milpitas, 1970-2007 & Pleasanton Amador Valley, 2015 (684-302)
675 – Sam Sullivan, Los Angeles Fremont, 1978-2014 (675-279) (Current)
665 – Jim Harris Sr., Huntington Beach Ocean View, 1979-2011 (665-265)
663 – Tom Bonfigli, Santa Rosa Cardinal Newman, 1981-1994, Napa Justin-Siena, 1995-2006 & Santa Rosa Cardinal Newman, 2007-2014 (current)
659 – Rick Francis, Sonora, 1977-2013 (659-396)
650 – Bill Armstrong, Barstow, 1944-46, Lone Pine, 1949-1950, Compton, 1958-1971, Palm Springs, 1972-1986
636 – Jerry DeBusk, Newport Beach Newport Harbor (12 seasons) & Rancho Santa Margarita Santa Margarita, 1993-2012 (636-251)
636 – Tom Blackwood, Orinda Miramonte, 1966-2003 (636-337)
628 – Jonas Honick, Ross Branson, 1983-2008
627 – John Dahl, Moreno Valley, 1970-2006
622 – Mike Bartee, Perris (one season) & Riverside J.W. North, 1982-2008, 2012-14 (current)
618 – Tom Danley, Anaheim Katella, 1966-1999 (618-142)
618 – John Singer, La Mesa Helix, 1982-2014 (current)
614 – Jim Boyd, Travis AFB Vanden, 1965-1997
614 – Frank Allocco, Walnut Creek Northgate, 1992-1997 & Concord De La Salle, 1998-2014 (614-88) (current)
608 – Tom Gregory, Anaheim Savanna, 1980-1990, Chino Hills Ayala, 1991-2009 & Riverside Patriot, 2010-2014 (current)
606 – Ron Palmer, Long Beach Poly, 1974-1984, 1989-2003
600 – Tom Hofman, La Canada, 1986-2014 (600-186) (current)
*Greg Hilliard’s current record at North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake is 598-221. Overall, Hilliard is 732-294, which includes 10 seasons at a school in Oregon.
*Two coaches reaching 500 career wins last year were Craig Ashmore from Newark Memorial of Newark and Doug Mitchell from Bishop Montgomery of Torrance. One coach reaching 500 career wins earlier this season was Dwan Hurt from Serra of Gardena.
*Total for Jonas Honick does not include 29 wins at prep school Choate of Connecticut.
*Total for Tom Orlich includes more than 500 wins at South Lake Tahoe, which is not a member of the CIF but is a school geographically located within the state.
*The late Dave Morgan (San Jose Del Mar, Denair & Delhi) won more than 800 games including years in Ohio through 2003.
*Ollie Butler (Victorville Victor Valley) won 605 games including 44 in two Idaho seasons and 20 in one Oklahoma season through 1993.
*It is an estimated total for Bill Armstrong; his previously listed total of 847 in some record books included JV wins from Barstow, Lone Pine, Delano and Newhall Hart.