State Coach of Year: McKinsey Hadley

State Coach of the Year McKinsey Hadley celebrates with Serra of Gardena team and family members after CIF Division I state title awards ceremony. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Serra of Gardena two-time CIF state champion coach was mentored early in his life as an athlete and then later as an up-and-coming coach by the late Dwan Hurt. While Hurt was a boys basketball coach at Serra for 28 years, Hadley has built up the school’s girls program since he took it over in 2007. Hurt was the overall State Coach of the Year for the boys in 2010. And now Hadley is getting the same honor for girls for 2018.

For our post on each of the divisional girls basketball State Coaches of the Year, CLICK HERE.

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(Associate editor Harold Abend contributed to this post)

At the end of the 2012 season, after the Serra of Gardena girls basketball team had won three CIF Southern Section titles in four years, head coach McKinsey Hadley was selected as the South Bay Daily Breeze Coach of the Year for the third straight time.

You should see what he and the Cavaliers have done since then.

Hadley speaks to media after 2013 D4 state championship. Photo: Willie Eashman.

In 2013, Serra won its first CIF state title on the girls side with a 62-60 victory over Salesian of Richmond. Then in 2015, Hadley and the Cavaliers made it to the CIF state finals in Division I but lost in double-overtime to McClatchy of Sacramento. This year’s team returned to the Division I state finals, but won it this time with a 70-54 victory over Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco.

For having that kind of a coaching career for more than 10 years, Hadley has now been selected as the 2018 State Coach of the Year by Cal-Hi Sports. He goes onto an all-time list that dates back to the early 1970s. He is the first winner from the South Bay since Lisa Cooper from Bishop Montgomery of Torrance in 2002, but there have been several others from the region who’ve also been given the honor.

“I feel tremendously honored,” Hadley said on Friday after being informed of the selection and as he was preparing to attend the annual John R. Wooden Awards ceremony in downtown Los Angeles. “There are so many great coaches and collaborators in our state. I’m deeply humbled to represent the state in this way.

“It was probably one of our most difficult seasons. We lost our No. 3 scorer very early on to injury and we had some other injuries. For the way the girls finished was a tremendous testimony to them.”

Before Hadley became Serra’s head coach in 2007, the program was clearly in the shadow of league rival Bishop Montgomery and other teams in the Del Rey League. But despite the strong competition in the league and in the upper levels of the CIF Southern Section, Hadley has a 224-87 record with two state titles and seven league crowns. The Cavaliers didn’t have a section title in their history until Hadley guided them to that first one in 2010.

As a player at Serra himself in the early 1990s, Hadley learned the game from boys head coach Dwan Hurt. Hadley later became an assistant freshman boys coach at the school and then began getting guidance from Hurt once again. In 2016, just before the start of the 2016-17 season, Hurt died suddenly from a heart attack. He had been a head coach at Serra for 28 years and won more than 500 games. This year’s girls team at Serra still played with Hurt’s initials on a uniform patch.

“We dedicated the season to him,” Hadley said. “We felt throughout the season we would invoke his spirit. He was definitely a great man of prayer and preparation.”

After Serra’s boys won the CIF Division III state crown in 2010, Hurt was honored as the State Coach of the Year. And now that Hadley is State Coach of the Year for the girls eight years later, that only strengthens the connection between them.

“For me, a lot of times during the season, I’d say to myself ‘What would Coach Hurt say?'” Hadley said. “We were peers in recent years, but he was always Coach Hurt to me and always a protector. I’m tremendously honored to carry on his legacy at Serra High School.”

Hadley previously was the Division IV State Coach of the Year for 2013. That doesn’t make him ineligible for being the overall State Coach of the Year for 2018, but by policy we do not choose anyone as State Coach of the Year twice. With 1,200 high schools in the state, this spreads the honor around to as many outstanding coaches as possible.

(Selected by Cal-Hi Sports)

Clovis West’s Craig Campbell pushed his team in 2017 to CIF Open Division state crown. Photo: Mark Tennis.

2018 – McKinsey Hadley, Gardena Serra (25-8)
2017 – Craig Campbell, Fresno Clovis West (34-2)
2016 – Mark Lehman, San Bernardino Cajon (27-6)
2015 – Kelli DiMuro, West Hills Chaminade (27-4)
2014 – Doc Scheppler, Los Altos Hills Pinewood (30-3)
2013 – Malik McCord, Oakland Bishop O’Dowd (30-3)
2012 – Terri Bamford, La Jolla Country Day (32-1)
2011 – Steve Smith, Los Angeles Windward (29-4)
2010 – Melissa Hearlihy, North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake (34-1)
2009 – Ron Hirschman, Danville Monte Vista
2008 – Lorene Morgan, Long Beach Millikan
2007 – Carl Buggs, Long Beach Poly (36-1)
2006 – Brian Harrigan, San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral (30-2)
2005 – Richard Wiard, Bishop Amat (35-0)
2004 – Tom Gonsalves, Stockton St. Mary’s (32-4)
2003 – Kevin Kiernan, Fullerton Troy (31-2)
2002 – Lisa Cooper, Torrance Bishop Montgomery (28-5)
2001 – Dwayne Tubbs, Hanford (31-2)
2000 – James Anderson, Harbor City Narbonne (34-0)
1999 – Sue Phillips, San Jose Mitty (31-0)
1998 – Jeff Sink, Brea Brea-Olinda (33-1)
1997 – Yvette Angel, Torrance Bishop Montgomery (29-3)
1996 – Mary Hauser, Santa Ana Mater Dei (29-3)
1995 – Scott Brown, Moraga Campolindo (32-3)
1994 – Mike Ciardella, Atherton Sacred Heart Prep (38-0)
1993 – Ellis Barfield, Lynwood (31-0)
1992 – Wendell Yoshida, RH Estates Peninsula (33-0)
1991 – Gene Nakamura, Berkeley (30-2)
1990 – Frank Scott, Inglewood Morningside (32-3)
1989 – Mark Trakh, Brea Brea-Olinda (31-2)
1988 – Richard Hull, Willows (26-4)
1987 – Lee Trepanier, San Diego Pt. Loma (34-0)
1986 – Van Girard, Lynwood (28-4)
1985 – Tom Campbell, Chico Pleasant Valley (28-0)
1984 – Joe Vaughan, Ventura Buena (31-0)
1983 – Larry Newman, Anderson (26-1)
1982 – Tom Pryor, Cerritos Gahr (29-5)
1981 – Art Webb, L.A. Locke (19-2)
1980 – Spike Hensley, Berkeley (29-0)
1979 – Harvey Green, Woodland Hills El Camino Real (19-0)
1978 – Joanne Kellogg, Huntington Beach (25-2)
1977 – Tami Yasuda, Fair Oaks Bella Vista (30-1)
1976 – Chuck Shively, Ventura (23-0)
1975 – Janet Balsley, San Diego Pt. Loma (34-0)
1974 – No selection
1973 – Mary Brown, Fresno San Joaquin Memorial (12-0)
1972 – Judy Hartz, Ventura Buena (8-0)

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

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One Comment

  1. Robert L Lane
    Posted April 8, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Congrats to Coach Hadley and his team.
    Hard work and dedication is always rewarded.
    We wish them and him continued success in their future endeavors.

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