The 2014 State Coach of the Year is James Davis from Granite Hills of El Cajon, who helped team win CIF San Diego Section Open Division title. Other honors to Ollie Turner of Torrance and Jay Preuss of Kerman.
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This year’s baseball team at Granite Hills of El Cajon didn’t have the No. 1 pick in the major league draft and it didn’t have the No. 6 overall choice, either.
But the Eagles did end up with the best team in the CIF San Diego Section this season and have been a consistent winner just about every season since head coach James Davis took over the program in 2001.
For winning in such a strong section (Brady Aiken, the No. 1 pick, played at Cathedral Catholic while Alex Jackson, the No. 6, played for Rancho Bernardo) and for what he’s done in his career, Davis has been chosen today as the 2014 State Coach of the Year by Cal-Hi Sports.
It’s the second time in three years that a coach from the East County region of San Diego has been named State Coach of the Year following Steve Vickery from El Capitan of Lakeside in 2012.
Following a playing career at San Diego State in which Davis just missed playing for the late Tony Gwynn but did play for longtime Aztecs’ coach Jim Dietz, he became the head coach for the 2001 season at Granite Hills.
The school had enjoyed success previously, especially when MLB brothers Brian Giles (1987-89) and Marcus Giles (1994-96) played there. Under Davis, however, Granite Hills is always a team to check for statewide recognition.
“A very professional and efficient leader of young men, James Davis always has his teams in contention for San Diego Section and Grossmont Hills League championships,” said longtime San Diego prep journalist Bill Dickens, who is based in the East County. “He has sent dozens of players onto the next level. He’s one of the most respected coaches in San Diego County for his knowledge and leadership.”
This year’s section title in the Open Division was clinched with a 3-0 triumph over La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad. To get there, Granite Hills had to win a game that Aiken started for Cathedral Catholic and scratched out a 3-2 victory in extra innings.
Davis enjoyed his third straight 20-win season and the program’s second section title. The first one occurred in 2007 when the Eagles went 28-5 and were No. 4 overall in the state.
Counting this year’s record of 26-7, Davis has a career mark of 286-146-2 (a .661 winning percentage) since the 2001 season. He’s also won five league titles and has never finished lower than third-place in the league after a fourth-place showing in that first year.
MEDIUM SCHOOLS STATE COACH OF THE YEAR
Ollie Turner (Torrance)
For the first time in the 97 years that Torrance has been in existence, the Tartars can call themselves CIF Southern Section champions. With Turner’s coaching being a key, Torrance won the CIFSS Division IV title with an 11-0 romp past its rivals from South of Torrance on June 7.
Turner has been at the helm of the program for 10 years and has compiled a 165-62-1 record. He was just named the South Bay Daily Breeze Coach of the Year, which is the fourth time the newspaper has given him that honor.
This year’s team, which also beat 27-2 Laguna Beach 4-3 in the semifinals, finished 27-8 and was No. 2 in the final Division III state rankings behind Manteca. Turner’s squads reached the CIFSS semifinals in both 2009 and 2010 and in 2011 the Tartars went 27-6.
This is the second straight year that a coach from the South Bay region of the CIFSS has been chosen State Coach of the Year for medium schools. Last year’s honoree was Wilmer Aaron from Serra of Gardena.
SMALL SCHOOLS STATE COACH OF THE YEAR
Jay Preuss (Kerman)
One year ago, Kerman had the State Small Schools Player of the Year in Carlos Salazar, a third-round choice in the MLB Draft of 2013 by the Atlanta Braves.
Since the Lions not only survived the departure of Salazar plus eight other seniors and posted an even better record en route to their second straight CIF Central Section Division IV title, this year they get the State Small Schools Coach of the Year.
Preuss, who has a 170-89-4 career record since 2006, also has directed Kerman to five straight league titles.
This year’s team, despite having just two seniors, capped a 28-4-1 season by defeating Golden Valley of Bakersfield 3-0 on May 24 for the CIF Central Section D4 crown. The Lions also won their last 16 straight games and didn’t give up an earned run in any of their postseason outings.
The only losses during the season for Preuss and his squad were to San Joaquin Memorial of Fresno (larger school), Central of Fresno (larger school), Chowchilla (a team that Kerman also beat twice) and Selma (which lost to Golden Valley earlier in the D4 section playoffs).
The only previous CIF Central Section small school coach of the year for baseball is Bill Feaver of Fowler, who was chosen after the 2001 season.
All-Time List Cal-Hi Sports
State Baseball Coaches Of The Year
2014 — James Davis, El Cajon Granite Hills (26-7)
2013 — Jeff Carlson, Elk Grove (29-5)
2012 — Steve Vickery, Lakeside El Capitan (31-7)
2011 ¬— John Goulding, Union City James Logan (24-4)
2010 — Tom Donald, Clovis Buchanan (29-5)
2009 — Pete Jensen, San Mateo Serra (30-6)
2008 — Rob Phillips, La Mesa Grossmont (29-7)
2007 — John Diatte, San Jose Valley Christian (33-4)
2006 — Spud O’Neil, Lakewood (29-5-1)
2005 — Bill Hutton, San Jose Mitty (28-6)
2004 — Rick Steen, Danville San Ramon Valley (25-8)
2003 — Justin Machado, Carlsbad La Costa Canyon (32-1)
2002 — Dave Currie, Santa Clara Wilcox (34-3)
2001 — Tom Muesborn, Chatsworth (31-2)
2000 — Harry Jenkins, Torrance West (29-2)
1999 — Joe Walters, Santa Ana Calvary Chapel (27-1-1)
1998 — James Patrick, Clovis (33-2)
1997 — Dave Brunell, Santa Maria St. Joseph (29-0)
1996 — Dennis Pugh, San Diego Mission Bay (29-5)
1995 — Dave Demarest, Westminster La Quinta (28-3-1)
1994 — Ron LaRuffa, Fountain Valley (27-3-1)
1993 — Mike Maio, Woodland Hills El Camino Real (24-2)
1992 — Dan Peters, Long Beach Millikan (22-5-1)
1991 — Jeff Meredith, La Mesa Grossmont (28-1)
1990 — Mickey McNamee, San Marino (23-2-1)
1989 — Sam Blalock, San Diego Mt. Carmel (25-2)
1988 — Chris Sims, Moraga Campolindo (24-5)
1987 — Don Ardissone, San Jose Bellarmine (26-7)
1986 — Mike Curran, Anaheim Esperanza (25-3-1)
1985 — Dave Perkins, Hanford (23-5)
1984 — Darryl Stroh, Granada Hills (16-2-1)
1983 — Larry Quirico, El Cerrito (27-1)
1982 — Jim Garrett, Tulare (21-5)
1981 — Guy Anderson, Rancho Cordova (28-8)
1980 — Mike Noakes, Fresno Bullard (29-2)
1979 — John Bachman, Covina (27-3)
1978 — Al Endriss, Larkspur Redwood (30-5)
1977 — Lou Zuardo, South S.F. El Camino (28-1)
1976 — John Herbold, Lakewood (22-4-1)
1975 — Jack Hannah, Fresno Hoover (29-2)
1974 — Jim O’Brien, Torrance North (26-6-1)
1973 — John Stevenson, El Segundo (30-5)
1972 — Hi LaValle, Compton Dominguez (22-4-1)
1971 — Denny Holt, Sepulveda Monroe (19-0)
1970 — Dan Bodary, Lompoc (27-1)
1969 — Bob Myers, Long Beach Millikan (21-6)
1968 — Bill Sandback, San Diego Crawford (21-7)
1967 — Marvin Wood, Torrance Bishop Montgomery (27-3)
1966 — Bill Cox, Oakland St. Elizabeth (23-5)
1965 — Al Exton, Arcadia (21-4)
1964 — Bob Zuber, Van Nuys Birmingham (18-1)
1963 — Bill Kelly, Redondo Beach Aviation (20-3)
1962 — Dick Sperbeck, Sacramento Bishop Armstrong (22-2)
1961 — Elmo Ferrari, Ojai Villanova (17-0)
1960 — Jake Abbott, Fresno Roosevelt (20-2)
1959 — Howard Johnson, Inglewood Morningside (20-6)
1958 — Ken Proctor, Ontario Chaffey (20-5)
1957 — Ollie Bidwell, Fresno (22-2)
1956 — Bill Ziegler, Eureka (18-0)
1955 — Bob Patterson, Vallejo (20-1)
1954 — Ed Grimm, Redding Shasta (14-0)
1953 — Charles Doyle, Compton (23-2)
1952 — George Powles, Oakland McClymonds (16-0)
1951 — Cliff Perry, Sacramento McClatchy (22-0-1)
1950 — Harry Brubaker, L.A. Dorsey (17-0*)
1949 — Al Kyte, Oakland Technical (8-2, League)
1948 — Len Porterfield, Santa Maria (16-2)
1947 — Cliff Meyer, Long Beach Wilson (20-3)
1946 — Walt Williams, San Jose (17-2)
1945 — Pop Elder, S.F. Mission (10-0, League)
1944 — Bob Fatjo, San Jose Bellarmine (13-2)
1943 — Les Haserot, L.A. Fremont (13-1)
1942 — Roy Engle, San Diego Hoover (13-0 vs. Prep Teams)
1941 — Ras Johnson, S.F. Galileo (12-1*)
1940 — George Wolfman, S.F. Mission (11-1*)
1939 — Dewey Morrow, San Diego (22-5)
1938 — George Sperry, Glendale
1937 — Bernie Baumeister, S.F. Commerce (12-2, League)
1936 — Lyle Kinnear, Long Beach Polytechnic (23-2)
1935 — Ed Combatalade, Sacramento (20-1)
1934 — Myles Regan, L.A. Cathedral (13-5-1)
1933 — Kit Carlson, Santa Maria (9-1)
*League and playoff record