The amazing Doug Johnson of Petaluma likely retired, plus Mike Takayama of Del Oro closes in on CIF Sac-Joaquin Section record
It wasn’t the way Petaluma head coach Doug Johnson wanted it to be, but unless you do what Elio “Abe” Abrami did when he retired at the press conference after his Darnell Robinson-led Emery (Emeryville) team won the 1993 Division V state championship, you go out with a loss.
The 74-year-old Johnson didn’t get to 802 victories like the current 87-year-old Abrami (whom I swim with regularly) did on the boys side when he retired as the all-time leader at the time. However, after a hard fought 54-49 loss to Moraga Campolindo on Friday in the quarterfinals of the CIFNCS Division III playoffs, Johnson more than likely retires with 679 wins. That makes him No. 2 on the all-time list behind the 761 victories of Joe Vaughan between 1976-2007 at Ventura Buena.
“My goal is to get to 686,” said Johnson at a Wednesday practice where I presented him with a laminated copy of the coaching record story that ran last month. To get to 686 wins would have meant winning a state championship.
We said more than likely retires because there is still a slim chance the Petaluma girls could be chosen for the CIF Division III NorCals, although that is probably not going to happen.
Should state No. 11 Miramonte (Orinda) win the NCS D3 title, it will be in the Open Division, meaning one NCS D3 quarterfinalist will probably be chosen for the Northern Regionals. At this point, it doesn’t look like the seeding committee would take No. 6 seeded Petaluma, but would opt for No. 4 seed Novato San Marin, a 53-51 loser in overtime to No. 5 seed Analy of Sebastopol.
Johnson presumably finishes with a 679-336 record from 1978-2014, and as the only coach to coach 1,000 games, but even if his girls don’t get a miracle berth in the NorCals, Johnson really isn’t completely retiring. He will begin his 36th year as head coach of both the boys and girls track teams at Petaluma.
Johnson also coached cross-country for 34 years meaning as a four-sport coach the Petaluma icon has undoubtedly made more overall coaching appearances than any head coach in state history.
What an amazing man.
Meanwhile on the I-80 corridor out in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, Del Oro of Loomis head coach Mike Takayama goes into a CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division II semifinal matchup with Sacramento next Tuesday with 590 victories on his resume.
Win or lose, Takayama won’t be able to pass the CIFSJS all-time leader and current Sacramento State assistant Bill Baxter (602 at Sacramento El Camino from 1988-2011) this season even if his team were to go on and win a state championship. Baxter will get to be the leader until at least sometime next season.
Unlike Johnson, Takayama and his girls are assured of moving on to the Division II NorCals since all semifinalists from the CIFSJS will advance.
Johnson himself probably will be short-lived at No. 2 all time with two multiple state championship coaches hot on his heels.
Brain Harrigan of St. Francis (Mountain View) is sitting at 653 wins going into a CIF Central Coast Section Division II Saturday night opening round match-up with Los Altos. Kevin Kiernan of top-ranked Mater Dei (Santa Ana) is right behind Harrigan and closing fast with 639 victories heading into a Saturday night showdown at Etiwanda in the CIF Southern Section Open Division semifinals.
*For the complete list and a breakdown of the coaches records as of Feb. 7 click here
Doug Johnson holding the laminated story with his picture and the ball he played with 65 years ago.
(*Note: Takayama’s totals came in too late to make the stories but he has been added to the State Record List)