BB: Redwood Empire Roundup

Three sport coach Doug Johnson of Petaluma joins girls basketball elite

As quiet as its kept, and its been kept pretty quiet since I only live six blocks from Petaluma High, Trojans girls head coach Doug Johnson is one of the state’s all-time winning-est girls basketball coaches.

Coming into this season the 74-year old Johnson, who has announced this will be his last season at the Trojans’ helm, was 660-328 in 36 years as the head coach.

Now, going into a January 29 Sonoma County League match-up with Sonoma Valley (Sonoma), Petaluma is 11-8, meaning so far this season Johnson at 771-336 has now passed Pam Wimberly (662-340 at Atherton Menlo-Atherton 1968-2012) and Eleanor Dykstra (665-177 at Cerritos Valley Christian 1971-1987, 1989-2007) to move into the No. 2 position all time behind Joe Vaughan. He went 761-112 from 1976-2007 at Ventura Buena.

“I’m not really a numbers guy or someone that dwells on records but it does feel good to know I’m up there that high,” said the Chico native that was an honored player himself as a senior in 1958 at Princeton High.

Johnson, who came close to a state championship in 2000 when his Trojan girls lost 57-45 in the CIF Division III title game to a Torrance Bishop Montgomery team that won its fourth-straight state championship, has nonetheless won nine Sonoma County League championships, one CIF North Coast Section title, he has been league Coach of the Year on several occasions, twice chosen as NCS Coach of the Year, and in 2009 he received the Community Award for Service to Youth.

In fact Johnson, who retired from teaching physical education in 2002 after 34 years at Petaluma, is still going to coach. He coached cross country and track for 33 years, and now after a short hiatus he’s back as the head coach for both boys and girls track.

Not only does Johnson pass Wimberly with the most girls basketball total games coached at a current 1,008, its doubtful with his cross country and track meets included, that any other head coach has had more combined coaching appearances in state history.

“I’m back coaching track this year but after that we’ll make a decision,” Johnson told Cal-Hi Sports.

Johnson might still be leading his charges on the track but the hardwood is where his heart really lies. “I love the kids but its about this,” said Johnson as he pointed to assistants Janelle Lombardi, a member of the 2000 team, and recent Cal Poly Pomona grad Kaitlyn Derby, who played for Johnson from 2003-2004 to 2007-2008. “Seeing them grow up and become women. Hanging it up is going to be a toughie.”

“To be successful as a coach in three areas is an accomplishment I’m proud of,” continued Johnson. “Its exactly what I teach my kids, and thats to play more than one sport.”

Sixth Annual Marin Free-Throw Championship

The Sixth Annual Marin County Free-Throw Championship will be held this Saturday from 8:30-12:00noon at the San Anselmo Drake Gymnasium. There will be contests and trophies for all grades, all age groups, male and female groups, parent and children, and family groups. Entry Fee is $5 for under age 14 and $10 for all others.

All proceeds from this year’s event will go toward helping women and children in need to get back on their feet. Help will be provided for food, Clothers, utilities, rental assistance and other basic living requirements.

The event was started and still managed by former California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Executive Director and Commissioner and former Marin school administrator Jack Hayes, and a staff of many volunteers from a local conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

“The funds are raised for families in our area,” Hayes told Cal-Hi Sports. “We are the last resort for people who need help and have no other resources. We work independently of the Society but are affiliated with St Vincent de Paul. The funds will come to this conference and we’ll distribute them to families who need help.

Come on Redwood Empire free-throw shooters, come on out and help my old friend who from 1995-2001 was the top commissioner of high school sports in California.

Montgomery and Santa Rosa tops in Empire

Going into a Wednesday game at home with Santa Rosa, veteran head coach Tom Fitchie has his Santa Rosa Montgomery squad ranked as the top team from the Redwood Empire in the Cal-Hi Sports and Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area rankings after the No. 16-ranked Vikings beat Santa Rosa Cardinal Newman to go to 5-0 in the North Bay League. The team is led by 6-foot-6 senior forward Alec Raven who sources tell me is the top player in the Redwood Empire. Montgomery (13-4) takes the spot of San Anselmo Drake after the Pirates were upset by Novato.

On the girls side Santa Rosa holds firm at No. 11 in the Bay Area coming into a Tuesday night match-up at home with cross-town rival Montgomery, after two easy North Bay League wins over Petaluma Casa Grande and Cardinal Newwman, and a 58-57 win over Brentwood Heritage at the Bentley/Campolindo Showdown on Saturday. Santa Rosa (18-1) played without 6-foot-4 center Morgan Bertsch (17.6 ppg, 11.5 rpg) against Heritage after she reportedly hurt her hand in the Newman victory.

Note: Anyone in the North Bay/Redwood Empire interested in sponsoring the Redwood Empire Roundup should contact Harold Abend at

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