More State Softball Coaches of Year

In addition to overall State Coach of the Year Teresa Mayes-Borchard of Pleasanton Amador Valley, we have additional state coaching honors for the 2018 season going to Kristin Grubbs of Benicia and Neil Stinson of East Nicolaus.


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Grubbs (far left on top) stands with team at Benicia after one of the program’s recent CIF Sac-Joaquin Section title game victories. Photo:

Kristin Grubbs (Benicia)

It’s the sign of an outstanding coach when a team loses a dominant player but doesn’t miss a beat in its success the following season. That’s one of the reasons for Benicia’s Kristin Grubbs being the Cal-Hi Sports Medium Schools State Coach of the Year.

Grubbs’ team in 2017 finished 29-2-1 and won the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D3 title, but lost standout pitcher-hitter McKenna Gregory, who graduated and is now at Michigan State. The Panthers came out in 2018, however, and were arguably just as good or better. They won the SJS D3 crown again, and this time also were ranked as the top overall team in the section. Grubbs’ girls not only had a win over D1 section champ Tracy, but also D1 runner-up Sheldon of Sacramento and that tie was against Amador Valley and State Coach of the Year Teresa Borchard. The only reason the Panthers weren’t ranked higher in the state overall is that they were not unbeaten in the SJS D3 playoffs.

Grubbs began coaching at Benicia in the 2012 season and was preparing the girls for the 2013 section playoffs when she was dismissed. The stated reason was “on-the-field conduct” and “temperament.” In those two seasons, her record was 46-10, including 29-1 in league. Kristin was re-hired to lead the softball program prior to the 2015 season and in those years the Panthers have gone 28-4, 23-7, 29-2-1 and 28-3-1 with three section titles. Here overall coaching record coming into the 2019 season is an impressive 154-26-2.

With Grubbs’ selection in the medium schools category this year, the SJS also has now had three of the last six coaches of the year.

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).

Neil Stinson (East Nicolaus, Nicolaus)

It’s rare to see a school’s athletic director also serve as its softball coach, but that’s been the case at East Nicolaus the past three seasons and this was a season to remember for the Spartans.

The Division 5 State Team of the Year won the CIF Northern Section D4 title and went 32-2 with a massive 372-28 scoring margin. East Nic didn’t just play other small schools, either.

This was the third year in which Stinson has been the head softball coach and in those years the team’s record has been 81-25. He’s been a football coach and softball coach in the Yuba City-Marysville area for many years and also is an assistant coach for the football team, which won a CIF state title in 2016. Stinson was the 1991 Softball Coach of the Year for the Appeal-Democrat newspaper when he was at Marysville. He also was that newspaper’s Football Coach of the Year for 1999 at the same school. Stinson also spent some years coaching at Wheatland prior to East Nicolau.

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).

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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