Congratulations to all of the Cal-Hi Sports State Coaches of the year for boys basketball. One of them is 82 years old and two of them are from the same league. 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 had teams not moved up and that multiple selections are only listed when a coach is later named the overall State Coach of the Year):
For more on overall State Coach of the Year announcement, CLICK HERE.
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Dave Kleckner (Etiwanda)
Does it look odd that Kleckner is our honoree for Division I even though Etiwanda didn’t win a league title, didn’t win a section title and didn’t win a state crown? We don’t think so.
First, his team played in the CIF Southern Section Open Division and made it to the championship game with a historic road win at Mater Dei of Santa Ana. Second, the loss in the CIF SoCal Open Division playoffs came to Fairfax of Los Angeles and head coach Harvey Kitani, who already has been State Coach of the Year and has been the pick for D1 twice. And third, the coach of the team that did win the title in Etiwanda’s Baseline League, Damien’s Matt Dunn, is getting one of our other divisional coaching honors.
In addition to his team displaying its trademark rugged man-to-man defense, another highlight of the year for Kleckner was getting his 500th career win. Since coming to Etiwanda in 1997, he has coached NBA players Darren Collison and Jeff Ayres and he has guided the Eagles to league titles from 2004 to 2014 (11 in a row) and to CIFSS crowns in 2006 and 2013.
Last 10 honorees: 2014 Nick Jones (Monte Vista, Danville); 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).
Chuck Rapp (Serra, San Mateo)
As the overall State Coach of the Year for the 2014-15 season, Rapp also has to be a divisional honoree. While Serra was in the NorCal Open Division and was in the CCS Open Division, the team would have been Division II, according to the CCS. Therefore, that’s also the division Rapp will be listed for as a divisional state coach of the year.
Last 10 honorees: 2014 Mike Wall (Folsom); 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).
Matt Dunn (Damien, La Verne)
It was arguably more difficult for Dunn’s team to have won the Baseline League title than the CIF Division III state title. That’s because the Spartans had to top CIF Southern Section Open Division finalist Etiwanda as well as CIF Division I state finalist Chino Hills just to win that league crown.
More proof of how hard it was for Dunn and Damien to win the Baseline League title: Etiwanda entered the season having won 11 straight league titles and Chino Hills went 10-0 in league last season.
Dunn, a graduate of Carmichael Jesuit, completed his 12th season at Damien and already has been named the San Gabriel Valley Tribune Coach of the Year. His 29-5 squad defeated Campolindo of Moraga to win the CIF D3 state title 70-57. Two years ago, Damien also won the CIFSS Division 3AA crown, and went 26-7. Dunn’s teams also have won 20 games for six straight seasons, including 22-7 for 2014, 26-3 for 2012 and 26-4 for 2011.
Last 10 honorees: 2014 Todd Wolfson (Chaminade, West Hills); 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).
Russell White (Crespi, Encino)
As the last few years have gone by, and Coach White has been getting more and more established at Crespi (he’s now the athletic director as well), it’s become increasingly easier to quit thinking about the former Crespi football star by the same name in connection with the school.
This Russell White (the other one is now commissioner of the CIF Oakland Section) completed his ninth season coaching the boys team and in each season the Celts have been in the CIF Southern Section playoffs. This year’s team did more than that with a CIF Division IV state title.
Crespi had solid players for sure, but had to overcome two of the top players in the state, Maranatha’s Tyler Dorsey and Campbell Hall’s Aaron Holiday, just to get into the CIF D4 state final. Then in that game, De’Anthony Melton’s amazing blocked shot helped seal a 47-44 win over Capital Christian of Sacramento.
From 2009 to 2013, with White in charge, Crespi also appeared in five straight CIFSS semifinal games and in 2010 won the school’s first section title in boys basketball since it opened 53 years ago.
Last 10 honorees: 2014 Doug Mitchell (Bishop Montgomery, Torrance); 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).
John Maffucci (Army-Navy, Carlsbad)
Is there a coach anywhere in the state in any sport who has given more to his/her school in the course of a lifetime than Maffucci?
Probably not. Back in 2006, when Maffucci was 73, he was saluted for a 50-year association with Army-Navy that included 40 years as athletic director, 22 years at football coach, 17 years as basketball coach and 25 years as golf coach.
Maffucci, who is now 82 and appears to be the oldest coach we’ve ever honored in one of these season-ending packages, guided the Warriors to a 26-6 season. They lost in the SoCal D5 semifinals to Price of Los Angeles, but in the round before that they beat favored Windward of Los Angeles. Army-Navy also beat El Camino of Oceanside in the San Diego Section Open Division playoffs before falling to Torrey Pines of San Diego in the semifinals.
Army-Navy athletic director Tim Cook is reportedly set to take over the boys basketball program next season. Maffucci’s current assignment was just for the 2014-15 season but knowing him he’ll be doing something positive at Army-Navy for as long as possible.
Last 10 honorees: 2014 Sid Cooke (Renaissance Academy, La Canada); 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).
Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports