In addition to overall State Coach of the Year Mike Noel of Clovis, we have additional state coaching honors for the 2017 season going to J.J. Vaivao from Buena of Ventura and Flo Galindo from Village Christian of Sun Valley.
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MEDIUM SCHOOLS STATE COACH OF THE YEAR
J.J. Vaivao (Buena, Ventura)
Given the way it started when Vaiveo became the head coach at Buena, this year’s historic 27-0-1 season is even more hard to believe. He actually was the JV head coach as the 2016 season was set to begin when he was elevated to the varsity due to the departure of then head coach Tisha Duran to Ventura College. Vaivao then had the task of coaching all 19 girls on the varsity by himself when two assistant coaches were dismissed.
This season, with assistant coaches back in place, Vaivao’s team completed a 27-0-1 season on June 2 with a 5-0 shutout of Channel League rival Dos Pueblos of Goleta in the CIF Southern Section Division 4 championship. Buena became the first team in Ventura County history to finish unbeaten, won the school’s first section softball title in 28 years and finished No. 1 in the final Cal-Hi Sports Division III state rankings.
Although Vaivao had standouts such as Brooke Yanez (no-hitter in the final) and Jenessa Ullegue (San Jose State), he still had to replace nine seniors from the previous team. He is the first softball coach from Ventura County to earn a Cal-Hi Sports statewide honor since Gary Walin of Thousand Oaks was the State Coach of the Year for 2001.
Last 10 State Medium Schools Coaches of the Year: 2017 – J.J. Vaivao (Ventura Buena); 2016 – Bobby Flores (Grand Terrace); 2015 – Brian Goulart (Manteca East Union); 2014 – Jim Maier (Santa Fe Springs St. Paul); 2013 – Linda Merrida (Woodland Pioneer); 2012 – Randy Willis (Novato San Marin); 2011 – Jerry Dumatrait (Bakersfield Ridgeview); 2010 – Michael Roberts (San Diego University City); 2009 – Howard Miller (Torrance North); 2008 – Duane Zauner (Lake of the Pines Bear River).
SMALL SCHOOLS STATE COACH OF THE YEAR
Flo Galindo (Village Christian, Sun Valley)
The third year has been the charm for Galindo both at Village Christian and at his previous coaching post at Bellarmine-Jefferson of Burbank. At Bell-Jeff, Galindo’s team in his third season there won the CIFSS Division VI title and capped a three-year run in which his teams went 61-21-4. At Village Christian, this was Galindo’s third season as well and again it was a CIFSS title, this time in Division VII. Village Christian defeated Santa Ynez 7-4 in the final and also ended No. 1 in the final Division V state rankings.
But there was more than that in Galindo being chosen for the small schools honor. Village Christian only had 10 players on the roster. And of those 10, six were freshmen and one was a sophomore. Sure, the freshmen were tremedously talented but those are numbers coaches often struggle to be competitive with let alone go on to win section titles.
Last 10 State Small Schools Coaches of the Year: 2017 – Flo Galindo (Sun Valley Village Christian); 2016 – Tony Williams (Mariposa County, Mariposa); 2015 – Margaret Neill (Lancaster Paraclete); 2014 – Russell Emberson (Taft); 2013 – Melissa Bugarin-Espinoza (San Pedro Port of Los Angeles); 2012 – Jim Pingree (Monterey Santa Catalina); 2011 – Mike Pontius (Lodi Elliot Christian); 2010 – Raoul Singh (Sutter); 2009 – Alan Borges (Eureka St. Bernard’s); 2008 – Art Lilly (Riverside Christian); 2007 – Casey Cooper (Newman Orestimba).