Top Football Coaches Sound Off

Patrick Walsh (left) was head coach of last season’s team at Serra (San Mateo) that won CIF D2-AA state title. Matt Logan (right) has won 10 CIFSS titles at Corona Centennial. Photos: & Mark Tennis.

We recently received more than 50 responses from many of the top high school football coaches in California on a questionnaire in which they participated in a poll about the controversial transfer situation and were asked a general question regarding their thoughts about the current format of the CIF state football championships. Go inside to see their comments & responses. Several of them, including legendary Matt Logan of Corona Centennial & Kevin Macy of Moraga Campolindo, even mentioned some additions/fixes to current CIF bowl system.

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The poll question that was asked for each of these coaches was:
What do you think about the influx of transfers at some schools (both private and public)?

The possible responses were:
*Makes No Difference To Me
*CIF Needs to Change Rules & Make It Harder
*No CIF Action Or New Laws Needed; It’s A Cycle That Will Naturally Slow Down

A survey of its member schools (more than 600) from the CIF Southern Section that was widely reported early last week showed that more than 71 percent of schools would like to see new, probably more restrictive transfer rules.

For the poll that we did, which did tend to come in a bit more strongly for public schools than private, our percentages for the coaches came in like this:

50.9 percent CIF Needs to Change Rules & Make It Harder
40.0 percent Makes No Difference to Me
9.1 percent No CIF Action or New Laws Needed; It’s A Cycle That Will Naturally Slow Down

On the same questionnaire, coaches were asked:
What Are Your Thoughts About How The CIF State Championships Have Evolved Over The Years?

Here Are Some Of The Most Interesting Comments:

I have mixed emotions. No one from the CIF has ever stepped foot on our campus and met our student athletes. I believe the competitive equity model isn’t completely accurate and has some unrealistic human bias when bowl games are assigned. We are a rural PUBLIC school of 760 students and it appears everyone associated with the selection committee is oblivious to that.
Ryan Reynolds (Sutter)

Being new to the state, I have really enjoyed our experience. The CIFSD Open Championship for the past 2 years has been an incredible environment.
Robbie Owens (Helix, La Mesa)

I like the expansion, but I do not like how early in the summer football must start to finish in early December. That makes it hard on families and coaches.
Anthony Goston (San Joaquin Memorial, Fresno)

I do not like how the south eliminates its second through fourth best teams from bowl contentions. There should be a play-in game for the runner up and the other semifinalist from Division I.
Matt Logan (Centennial, Corona)

I like the current format. If you want to win, you have to be committed to building your program. It takes time and effort. You must be committed to your players. If you aren’t, then you risk not being able to compete. It also puts schools that struggle in a situation where they can compete and begin the building process.
Derek Bedell (Mayfair, Lakewood)

In 1992, we won the NCS section championship (at De La Salle). The season was over first of December and as a player, it’s all I knew, and all I ever wanted. In 2013, we won the final CCS “Open Division” (at Serra of San Mateo) and it felt as good as that night in 1992. We then lost to Del Oro (which felt bad). We lost a state game, we won a state Game. I can say this, with all due respect to our 2017 season: The 1992 section title and the 2013 section sitle felt as good as anything for all involved. Playing into almost Christmas is very taxing and difficult. Winning the State Title last year truly was an incredible experience. Duration is an issue – losing summer is an issue. Start dates, in pads in August? Finishing in December? Those are questions that need to be considered.
Patrick Walsh (Serra, San Mateo)

Head coach Kevin Macy at Campolindo of Moraga knows how to win CIF state titles. Photo: Mark Tennis.

We have played in four state finals, two in the original format, and two in the current “Competitive Equity” format. I have strong opinions on the CIF playoff system. In short, I believe that the system should be changed to three separate championships: Open, Private, and Public. The 13 present games can easily be grouped into brackets of 4 with a floater game that would help place all the teams in the appropriate division. The Open division would include public and private, Private Division would be for smaller private schools, and the Public Division would be for public schools that want to be matched by school size. Three venues can be selected and eliminate how the eight games outside of the main venue teams have to fend for themselves (very unglamorous). One venue could be in Northern Califormia, one in Central, and one in Southern California. This would be a good start.
Kevin Macy (Campolindo, Moraga)

I like it. It’s great to see teams getting a chance to play beyond CIF. The way we set our divisions is a bit of a misnomer though. The teams that make the “Open Division” would be CIF champions and help represent our section in the state regional maybe better than the teams that “win CIF” from the lower levels. Should probably go back to old school size and it would distribute the best winners from there.
Sean Sovacool (La Costa Canyon, Carlsbad)

We were involved in 2016 and I will probably never do it again. One, it is just a CIF fundraiser and two it is hard to get up for another game after you have already one a CIF (section) championship. I get it for the big schools, but there are too many divisions and I don’t agree with the regional game, either.
Jeff Bailey (Yorba Linda)

I think it’s been good for the state to have state championships, but it has almost come at the cost of everyone else. Everything now centers around what ultimately are 20 teams playing at the end of the year, and it’s effecting the experience and numbers for a variety of programs. State championships should exist, but the process needs to be reviewed.
Adhir Ravipati (Menlo-Atherton, Atherton)

THe CIF state games are nice, but maybe too many now. Sixteen games in a season are a bit too long.
Tony Franks (St. Mary’s, Stockton)

I see it completely as a money grab and I am not in favor of it at all. I think the CIF talks out of their mouths when it comes to player safety. We have severely altered practice time, both in terms of time on the field, as well as number of days before games all under the guise of player safety, while also extending the season. There is zero reason for high school athletes to be playing 14, 15, and 16-game seasons in my opinion. In the years I have been fortunate enough to coach in CIF state championship games (including 2009 when we were selected), I can tell you that after the section championships, our players were done. They were mentally and physically exhausted. The reality is that every school in California (1000?) is adjusted at the beginning of the season so that the same 25-30 schools can add games onto the end of their season. The restrictions on practice times, practice days, and players competing on varsity and JV in the same week, are all negative for player safety in my opinion because they do not allow coaches to adequately prepare players who are new to football for the rigors and demands of a football game.
Matt Morrison (Bishop’s, La Jolla)

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:

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  1. Erik Duncan
    Posted September 17, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Coach Logan has a point about eliminating some pretty good teams from bowl contention in a loaded section.

  2. Richard Stubblefield
    Posted September 17, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Coach Macy from Campolindo has the right idea, which should be given serious consideration by the CIF.

    Posted September 21, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    The transferring is getting out of control, every where. In parts of Washington
    it has almost become a joke.
    Very interesting comments on that subject, above.
    Keep the the great work.
    Ron Siegel
    Football Scouting & Research
    Kent, WAshington

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