More State Boys Coaches of Year

Head coach Nick Jones from Monte Vista of Danville poses with CIF Division I state title trophy after team's victory in Sacramento over Centennial of Corona. Photo: Harold Abend.

Head coach Nick Jones from Monte Vista of Danville poses with CIF Division I state title trophy after team’s victory in Sacramento over Centennial of Corona. Photo: Harold Abend.

Congratulations to all of the Cal-Hi Sports State Coaches of the year for boys basketball. Here is the rundown for each CIF division (note that Open Division coaches were considered for the CIF divisions their teams would have played in and that multiple selections are only listed when a coach was later named the overall State Coach of the Year):

For the story on 2014 State Coach of the Year Doug Mitchell from Bishop Montgomery of Torrance, CLICK HERE.

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DIVISION I
Nick Jones (Monte Vista, Danville)

Already named as the East Bay Boys Basketball Coach of the Year by the Contra Costa Times, Jones adds an honor from us after leading the Mustangs to the school’s first state championship with a 66-55 win over Centennial of Corona in the Division I final.

Losing just one game all season (and that was in overtime to a team the Mustangs later beat twice), Monte Vista (32-1) also employed its balanced attack and great defense to capture the East Bay Athletic League championship and CIF North Coast Section Division I championship.

The school’s faithful weren’t that upset that we chose Centennial to win that game, but that we predicted the Huskies would score more than 60 points. The most points Monte Vista gave up in any game was 59.

Jones himself played at Monte Vista for former coach Bill Powers (the coach of the year in this division just five years ago) in 1997-98 and began his coaching career at Castro Valley. His team there in 2011 won the NCS Division I title and reached the NorCal D1 final. Before coming back to his alma mater, Jones had a 99-22 record at Castro Valley. Last year’s team at Monte Vista, his first, went 20-7.

Last 10 honorees: 2013 James Hecht (Santa Monica); 2012 Tony Amundsen (Fresno Bullard); 2011 Gary McKnight (Santa Ana Mater Dei); 2010 Reggie Morris Jr. (Lawndale Leuzinger); 2009 Bill Powers (Danville Monte Vista); 2008 Dwight Nathaniel (Oakland McClymonds); 2007 Harvey Kitani (Los Angeles Fairfax); 2006 Russ May (Los Alamitos); 2005 Sam Sullivan (Los Angeles Fremont); 2004 Harvey Kitani (Los Angeles Fairfax).

DIVISION II
Mike Wall (Folsom)

Nearing 150 career wins in charge of the Bulldogs, it was a season to remember for Wall and the school’s basketball team as it bounced back from a 12-win season to reach the CIF Division II state championship game before losing to St. John Bosco of Bellflower.

Before the NorCal playoffs, Wall’s team went unbeaten in the Delta River League and captured the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship. His sophomore son, Jared, played a big factor in the Bulldogs’ success all season long.

In Wall’s first four years at the school, he went 88-25 before taking a year off and since returning he has gone 56-33 for an overall record of 144-58. Before coming to coach at Folsom, he coached from 1994-2000 at Foothill of Sacramento and now has an overall varsity coaching record of 263-119.

Another factor in choosing Wall is that the Bulldogs went so far this year with an almost all-underclass cast of starters and key bench players. It was a group that played with tremendous chemistry throughout the season.

Last 10 honorees: 2013 Reggie Morris Jr. (Redondo Beach Redondo Union); 2012 Patrick Roy (Inglewood); 2011 Dan Larson (Ventura); 2010 Jason Bryant (San Diego Lincoln); 2009 Steve Johnson (Rialto Eisenhower); 2008 Steve Taylor (Rocklin); 2007 Tom Maier (Redondo Beach Redondo Union); 2006 Pete Diepenbrock (Palo Alto); 2005 Steve Scott (El Dorado Hills Oak Ridge); 2004 Randy Wellen (Fullerton Sunny Hills).

DIVISION III
Todd Wolfson (Chaminade, West Hills)

Two things stand out about Wolfson — his age and his ability to quickly turn programs around.

When Wolfson was hired as an assistant coach at El Camino Real of Woodland Hills, his alma mater, he helped turned around a program that went 0-23 the season before to a respectable 14-9 in his first year on the staff. As a 24-year-old first-year head coach in 2008-09, Wolfson led Chaminade to a runner-up finish in the CIFSS Division IV-A playoffs. This year, he didn’t win a section title, either, but that’s because his team played in the loaded CIFSS Open Division bracket won by eventual Open Division state champ Mater Dei.

Chaminade was able to bounce back in the SoCal Division III regional and advance to the state final where it downed Drake of San Anselmo 71-51 despite Long Beach State-bound forward Jack Williams sitting out the game with a bout of mononucleosis.

The win capped a 27-6 season in which Wolfson upped his career mark to 118-39 and became one of the youngest coaches in state history to win a CIF state title. The only other coach we can find to win a state title at 28 years old is Waheed Mitchell of Division IV champ San Diego Horizon in 2006.

Wolfson’s selection marks the fifth time in six years that top honors in this division have gone to a coach from the CIF Southern Section. The only time it hasn’t since the 2008-2009 season was last year when Mike Haupt of San Diego St. Augustine was named overall State Coach of the Year. The last winner from the San Fernando Valley region prior to Wolfson was Tom Hofman of La Canada in 2007.

Last 10 honorees: 2013 Mike Haupt (San Diego St. Augustine); 2012 Tim Tucker (Pasadena); 2011 Eric Cooper Sr. (La Verne Lutheran); 2010 Dwan Hurt (Gardena Serra); 2009 Jim Harris Sr. (Huntington Beach Ocean View); 2008 Derek Swafford (Sacramento); 2007 Tom Hofman (La Canada); 2006 Ken Green (Stockton St. Mary’s); 2005 Pete Newell (Santa Cruz); 2004 Rod Palmer (Compton Centennial).

DIVISION IV
Doug Mitchell (Bishop Montgomery, Torrance)

On the morning we were finalizing Mitchell as this year’s State Coach of the Year, he was already being honored as the South Bay Daily Breeze Coach of the Year.

Last 10 honorees: 2013 Tom Bonfigli (Santa Rosa Cardinal Newman); 2012 Bill Mellis (Richmond Salesian); 2011 Miguel Villegas (Los Angeles Windward); 2010 Manny Nodar (Berkeley St. Mary’s); 2009 Bill Mellis (Richmond Salesian); 2008 Terry Kelly (North Hollywood Campbell Hall); 2007 Ron Pucci (Colfax); 2006 Jim Tomey (San Diego Francis Parker); 2005 Gino LaCava (Bakersfield Garces); 2004 Don Lippi (Alameda St. Joseph.

DIVISION V
Sid Cooke (Renaissance Academy, La Canada)

For 15 years or more, Cooke has made his basketball coaching part of the landscape in the San Gabriel Valley/Pasadena area. In addition to his success at Renaissance Academy, he has conducted clinics and camps and in 2006 was an assistant training coach for the Chinese Men’s Junior National Team.

Cooke’s team this season reached the CIF Division V state final after a win over much taller View Park Prep. Renaissance also was a CIF Division V state finalist in 2008 and in 2012 made it to the CIF SoCal Division V championship. Additional CIF Southern Section titles have been won in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Last 10 honorees: 2013 Kevin McCloskey (San Gabriel Academy); 2012 Jon Shaw (Sun Valley Village Christian); 2011 Mike Jarvis (Vacaville Christian); 2010 Ed Kelly (Watsonville St. Francis CCC); 2009 Mike Rubie (Sacramento Bradshaw Christian); 2008 Jonas Honick (Ross Branson); 2007 James Wilkes (Los Angeles View Park Prep); 2006 Randy Wright (Solana Beach Santa Fe Christian); 2005 Tom Mott (San Luis Obispo Mission Prep); 2004 Jonas Honick (Ross Branson).

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports


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