State record updating in all five of the major sports we cover at CalHiSports.com goes on all the time. As is our custom during the weeks we’re still wrapping up what happened during the most recent boys and girls basketball seasons, we’re now done with all of the state coaching record updates. Those actual lists are for Gold Club members, but here’s a look at some of the coaching highlights from the 2018-19 season.
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FOR AN UPDATED LOOK AT THE ALL-TIME STATE LIST FOR GIRLS BASKETBALL COACHING (GOLD CLUB), CLICK HERE.
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The most historically significant coaching achievement in either boys or girls basketball during the 2018-19 season took place in San Diego on Dec. 26 when the Mater Dei of Santa Ana girls won a first-round game at the So Cal Holiday Prep Classic 69-32 over Serra of Gardena.
On that night, Mater Dei head coach Kevin Kiernan won the 762nd game in his 28th season as a girls basketball head coach. Including his years at La Quinta of Westminster and Troy of Fullerton, Kiernan surpassed the 761 wins by former Buena of Ventura head coach Joe Vaughan as the most in state history. Vaughan coached the Bulldogs for 31 seasons during a career that ended in 2007.
Kiernan’s team this year at Mater Dei included his daughter Camryn, a junior and the second of Kevin and Christine Kiernan’s four children.
Several days after the record was established, Kiernan was saluted at Mater Dei where he was joined by Monarchs’ boys head coach Gary McKnight, who has won more than 1,100 games during his career and is the winningest boys basketball head coach in state history.
Video tributes to Kiernan also were seen by former players and coaches, including one from Alicia Komaki, the current head coach at Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth who played for Kiernan at Troy and also was an assistant coach at Mater Dei. Komaki’s team this season won the CIF Open Division state title and she was later named State Coach of the Year.
MORE GIRLS HOOPS COACHING HIGHLIGHTS
*Fullerton Rosary’s Rich Yoon, who has to go against Kiernan’s teams in the Trinity League, earned his second CIF state title in three years when the Royals topped Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland for the CIF D1 championship. We saw one report of Yoon, in his 27th season, with a total of 473 wins entering the season. Rosary’s final record: 27-8. We hadn’t seen any reports of him with 500 wins but he responded to a phone call and said his record stands at 517-310 after the season. That makes sense.
*Redondo Union’s Marcelo Enriquez, who was widely acclaimed for winning his 500th game this season, also moved up one spot on the all-time state list. The Seahawks were a CIF Southern Section Open Division team this season after winning the CIF D2 state title last season.
*Several coaches are closing in on major milestone wins and should get them next season. Topping that list is San Jose Archbishop Mitty’s Sue Phillips, who needs eight wins in 2019-20 to reach 700 for her career. She would become just the fifth in state history at 700 or more and also could become the winningest girls hoops coach in NorCal history. That record is currently 703 by Brian Harrigan, known mostly for his years at Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco (1991-2009). Terri Bamford from La Jolla Country day also only needs six more wins to reach 600 for her career. She’s been at LJCD since 1999 and also coached from 1986 to 1990 at San Pasqual of Escondido.
*Fresno Clovis West’s Craig Campbell won his 600th game when the Golden Eagles topped Redondo in the SoCal Open Division playoffs. His first 11 seasons were at out-of-state Reno High, however, so for the California state records he isn’t listed. In 14 years at Clovis West, Campbell has gone 361-82.
BOYS HOOPS COACHING HIGHLIGHTS
*The team at Rolling Hills Prep of San Pedro once again made a deep run in the CIF state playoffs, which helped head coach Harvey Kitani move into the top five on the all-time state list. Kitani, who coached for many years at Fairfax of Los Angeles, will start the 2019-20 season with 849 career wins. He moved past three others who were higher than him, including the legendary Lou Cvijanovich of Oxnard Santa Clara (1959-1999), who died early in the season at age 92. Kitani also moved past retired Mike Phelps (Oakland Bishop O’Dowd) and Fresno Clovis West’s Tom Orlich (who also coached at South Lake Tahoe).
*Kitani’s longtime coaching rival at Westchester of Los Angeles, Ed Azzam, will start next season with 899 career wins. When he gets that win, Azzam will become just the third in state history to reach 900, joining Gary McKnight (Santa Ana Mater Dei) and Mike LeDuc (La Verne Damien). It appears as though Azzam would have won his 900th game this season if the Comets had not had a couple of games missed due to the L.A. Unified teachers’ strike. McKnight is still the only coach in state history to have won more than 1,000 games and he’s now won more than 1,100. He also should pile up many more wins next season with so many returning standouts off of this year’s 29-5 squad.
*Another coach very close to a milestone win would be Tom Bonfigli from Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa. Bonfigli, who also coached at Justin-Siena of Napa, will begin next season with 795 reported wins.
*Helix of La Mesa’s John Singer, who was on the same team at Helix in 1970 when the Highlanders were unbeaten and were led by the legendary Bill Walton, was one of three coaches during the season who won their 700th games. The others were former State Coach of the Year Doug Mitchell from Bishop Montgomery of Torrance and Jonas Honick from Branson of Ross, who was voted State Coach of the Year for the 2018-19 season.