Two Bay Area coaches have now moved into the top five on the exclusive Cal-Hi Sports state record list with an Orange County coach right on their heels. We have all coaches updated through results of Friday, Feb. 7.
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Editor and Co-Founder Mark Tennis contributed to this report.
Quite a bit has changed since we last did the work to dig up the records of the all-time winningest girls basketball coaches in the Golden State.
Two prime examples are Doug Johnson of Petaluma, currently No. 2 on the list and No. 1 among active coaches, who wasn’t on the last list. Plus, we didn’t have 112 wins that Kevin Kiernan of Santa Ana Mater Dei racked up in his initial coaching stint at Westminster La Quinta.
With those wins, plus the 181-9 record Kiernan has posted in the last five-plus seasons since the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book was last published, the Monarchs’ head coach now is not only No. 3 on the active list, he’s the fastest to reach 600 wins, and his 90.0 winning percentage is No. 3 all time.
“Yea, I’m up there but that’s because I’m an old man. I’ve been around a while,” Kiernan jokingly told Cal-Hi Sports.
Kiernan, who won his first of 10 girls CIF Southern Section titles in 1990 at La Quinta, and has six CIF state championships at Fullerton Troy (3) and Mater Dei (3) combined, also won 61 games coaching boys at Anaheim Savanna and La Quinta after leaving the girls at La Quinta, and 110 games coaching women at Cerritos College between the time he left the La Quinta boys and took the girls head coaching job in 2007 at Troy.
While some of Kiernan’s games were missing, Johnson was missing period.
After coaching 44 years at Petaluma with 36 as the head coach, the 74-year-old Johnson is hanging it up after this season. However, he will continue to coach boys and girls track, something he has done for 35 years. Johnson recently gave up the reins of the Petaluma cross country team after guiding the Trojans’ boys and girls for 33 years.
With the most basketball games coached in history (1,006) and with all his appearances as a head coach in track and cross country, there’s little doubt Johnson has made more combined coaching appearances than any coach in state history.
A coach whose record was slightly adjusted from the last record book was Pam Wimberly of Menlo-Atherton of Atherton.
“I never started out thinking I would be a coach, but 42 years later it was about the kids. I hope I touched a lot of them in a positive way. Besides the kids the thing I’m most proud of is to be the African-American coach with the most wins,” said Wimberly, who left coaching after the 2012 season.
A coach directly ahead of Kiernan at No. 2 currently and No. 5 all time, and creeping up on the three coaches above him, is current St. Francis (Mountain View) head coach Brian Harrigan.
“I’m creeping all right, very slowly,” the 55-year-old Harrigan mused.
“What it really means is I’ve been around a long time and I’ve had a lot of great players,” continued the four-time state title winner who is now in his fourth year at St. Francis after a two-year hiatus from coaching following big successes at San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Harrigan might think he’s creeping, but after telling Cal-Hi Sports he feels “energized” with the support he’s received from administrators and parents at St. Francis, there’s a good chance he’ll be No. 2 on the all-time list soon although Kiernan is closing fast.
Most California Varsity Coaching Wins
(Records through reported results of Feb. 7, 2014)
(Credit Cal-Hi Sports for all California high school records as no other source for these lists exists)
761 – Joe Vaughan, Ventura Buena, 1976-2007 (761-112)
675 – Doug Johnson, Petaluma, 1978-current (674-336)
665 – Eleanor Dykstra, Cerritos Valley Christian, 1971-1987, 1989-2007 (665-177)
662 – Pam Wimberly, Atherton Menlo-Atherton, 1976-2012 (662-340)
653 – Brian Harrigan, San Francisco St. Rose 1982-1990, San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral 1991-2009 & Mountain View St. Francis 2011-current (653-199)
636 – Kevin Kiernan, Westminster La Quinta 1985-1990, Fullerton Troy, 1997-2007, Santa Ana Mater Dei 2008-current (636-70)
609 – Wade Vickery, Santee Santana, 1979-1997, 1999-2006 (609-119)
602 – Bill Baxter, Sacramento El Camino, 1988-2011
579 – JoAnne Reck, Santa Ynez, 1982-2007 (579-177)
563 – Gene Nakamura, Berkeley, 1984-2007
559 – Joe Murrillo, Chino 1978-2007 (559-230)
533 – Nori Parvin, Newbury Park, 1975-2010
524 – Ken Kline, King City, 1979-2008 (524-221)
553 – Sue Phillips, San Jose Archbishop Mitty, 1993-2000, 2002-current (553-99)
520 – Margaret Gartner, Concord Carondelet, 1992-current (520-122)
520 – Richard Wiard, La Puente Bishop Amat, 1996-2007, 2009-current
518 – Peggy Brose, San Diego Mt. Carmel & San Diego Rancho Bernardo, 1977-2006 (518-239)
495 – Doc Scheppler, Los Altos Pinewood, 1995-current (495-109)
489 – Dwayne Ganske, Lake of the Pines Bear River & Grass Valley Nevada Union, 1988-2007 (489-184)
488 – Ellis Barfield, Lynwood 1992-current (488-98)
487 – Tom Pryor, Cerritos Garr, 1973-1999 (487-139)
454 – Lorene Morgan, Long Beach Millikan, 1990-current
443 – Karen Wood, Lemoore, Caruthers & Fresno San Joaquin Memorial, 1977-2006 (443-157)
442 – Wendell Yoshida, Palos Verdes Estates Palos Verdes 1978-1991 & Rolling Hills Estates Peninsula 1992-2002 (442-183)
420 – Craig Strohm, Grass Valley Nevada Union, 1985-2004 (420-156)
407 – Scott Brown, Walnut Creek Del Valle 1979 & Moraga Campolindo 1985-1999, 1991-1999 (407-59)
403 – Virgil Pate, Cupertino Monta Vista, 1977-1997 (403-133)
Notes: Long Beach Poly’s Carl Buggs had a reported total of 395-50 heading into a Saturday night matchup against coach Ellis Barfield’s team at Lynwood. Another coach catching up to 400 very quickly is Tom Gonsalves from St. Mary’s of Stockton. Entering a Saturday matchup vs. Bishop O’Dowd, his reported total since 2000-01 season was at 356-40. La Jolla Country Day’s Terri Bamford also was standing at 339-84 since 1999.
Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend