More State Baseball Coaches of Year

In addition to overall State Coach of the Year Mike Gonzales of El Toro, we have additional state coaching honors for the 2017 season going to Rich Henning from Christian Brothers of Sacramento and Jim Cleveland from Redwood Christian of San Lorenzo.


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Rich Henning (Christian Brothers, Sacramento)

It wasn’t just that Christian Brothers won its first CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III title that was the difference in Henning gaining this honor. His team also finished 29-2 and was at least in the conversation about being the best team in the section regardless of class. Although Elk Grove eventually had to get that top ranking with a third straight Division I crown, the Falcons did have wins over D1 teams and were placed at No. 19 in the final overall State Top 40. They also ended No. 1 in the final Division III state rankings.

Henning, a graduate of Christian Brothers in 1978, has a lot of coaching to relate to with other family members. His wife, Debbie, has won two SJS titles in girls golf while his sons, Drew and Joshua, are both junior college baseball coaches at Sacramento City College. In addition to coaching the Falcons, Henning also has been a minor league pitching coach for the Detroit Tigers. Additional experience comes from being a minor league pitcher in the Giants’ organization and a scout for the Giants and Tigers.

The last SJS coach to be State Coach of the Year was Hondo Arpoika of Oakdale in 2008. Oakdale was the team that the Falcons had to beat to get their title and they did 5-2. Arpoika retired after the 2013 season. It was the first section title in program history, although Bishop Armstrong of Sacramento (which pre-dated Christian Brothers) had one of the best teams in the state in 1962.

Henning has been the head coach at CBS since 2008. His team last year went 24-6-1 and reached the section finals. His team in 2014 also went 24-7 and went to the section finals.

Last 10 State Medium Schools Coaches of the Year: 2017 – Rich Henning (Christian Brothers, Sacramento); 2016 – Jeff Baumback (Redondo Union, Redondo Beach); 2015 – Mike Mitchell (El Cajon Christian); 2014 – Ollie Turner (Torrance); 2013 – Wilmer Aaron (Gardena Serra); 2012 – Steve Vickery (Lakeside El Capitan); 2011 – Gary Remiker (San Diego Cathedral Catholic); 2010 – Rich Sciutto (Burlingame); 2009 – Bob Anderson (Lake Shasta Central Valley); 2008 – Hondo Arpoika (Oakdale); 2007 – Sandy Whitol (Los Altos).

Jim Cleveland also is the athletic director at Redwood Christian. Photo:

Jim Cleveland
(Redwood Christian, San Lorenzo)

For the second straight year, we have selected a veteran coach from a CIF North Coast Section school. After Arcata’s Troy Ghisetti last year, this year it’s Cleveland, who guided his team to the NCS Division V title in his 23rd season at Redwood Christian.

The Eagles won their title with a 4-1 win over league rival Athenian of Danville behind junior pitcher Alex Williams, who has committed to Stanford. Cleveland had another Stanford-bound player in 2009 when Redwood Christian won its previous NCS D5 title and finished 23-4. This year’s team ended 22-4 and also posted two wins over NCS D4 champ St. Joseph Notre Dame and beat NCS D6 champ Berean Christian of Walnut Creek once.

Cleveland is well-known for speaking at baseball coaching clinics throughout the state and 2004 he was the head coach of the North team in the North-South showcase all-star series. He also has taken numerous trips during the summer to the Dominican Republic for baseball clinics and missionary work.

“I am humbled by the recognition,” Cleveland said. “This group of players embodied the word ‘team.’ They embraced their roles and supported one another throughout the season, and loved spending time together on and off the field. I am grateful for the opportunity to have coached these guys.”

Last 10 State Small Schools Coaches of the Year: 2017 – Jim Cleveland (San Lorenzo Redwood Christian); 2016 – Troy Ghisetti (Arcata); 2015 – Nelson Randolph (Sacramento Capital Christian); 2014 – Jay Preuss (Kerman); 2013 – Gil Ruiz (Pacific Grove); 2012 – Greg Largent (Escalon); 2011 – Craig Schoof (Atherton Menlo School); 2010 – Glen Prater (Riverside Woodcrest Christian); 2009 – Brad Gunter (Roseville Valley Christian); 2008 – Gary Galloway (Petaluma St. Vincent de Paul); 2007 – Rick Zepek (San Jacinto); 2006 – Mike Glines (Modesto Central Catholic).

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at markjt

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