With our state coaches of the year just announced, we must have coaching on our minds as we’ve now updated the all-time state coaching leaders list to include all reported results from the 2021 spring season. Despite the low number of games and the strange nature of the spring season due to the pandemic, there was movement on the all-time list. We have one coach moving to No. 12 all-time and within sight of 300 plus there was one coach moving up eight spots and two others who went up seven.
To read about this year’s State Coach of the Year, CLICK HERE.
To check out our updated list of California’s all-time winningest football coaches (all with 200 wins or more), CLICK HERE.
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(All listed in alphabetical order)
Mike Alberghini (Grant, Sacramento)
The longtime leader of the Pacers and a legend in Del Paso Heights, Alberghini was recently informed by the principal that there will be a change for the head coaching position for this fall. Grant officials were pushing a narrative at the end of this spring, especially after the Pacers won their last of just two games over Capital Christian of Sacramento, that with that win that Mike became the winningest coach in CIF Sac-Joaquin Section history. All of the local TV stations reported it that way. Well, that’s not exactly correct (at least if one doesn’t count default or forfeit wins like we’ve always done). We know there is at least one default win on the record and besides the total of 282 didn’t break the record of 282 by Escalon’s Mark Loureiro. It was a tie. We invite the school to show us their info on why they have a different total, but the one we’re going with is 281 wins. Regardless, Coach Al deserved to go out on his own terms. He was our 2008 State Coach of the Year and will forever be known in Sacramento for that 2008 team that knocked off Long Beach Poly to win the first-ever CIF Open Division state title.
Darren Bennett (Tulare )
We recently mentioned that according to CIF Central Section historian Bob Barnett that Bennett had moved into third place in that section for career wins at 222. The Tribe’s 4-1 season record also enabled Bennett to gain eight positions on the all-time state list. That’s the most for any coach for this spring. Bennett has won 15 East Yosemite League championships at Tulare, second most league titles by a coach in the Central Section.
Randy Blankenship (Aptos)
We’ve followed Randy since his first job at Nevada Union of Grass Valley in the 1980s and that Wing-T is still humming along nicely at Aptos. The Mariners went 4-0 this spring, moving Blankenship from No. 14 to No. 12 on the all-time list with 294 wins. He’ll likely get six this fall and would become just the 12th in state history to celebrate a 300th milestone win.
Roger Canepa (Central Catholic, Modesto)
He was one of two coaches from the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section (see below) who celebrated a 250th win this season. Canepa, who has won four CIF state titles with the Raiders, began his career as a head coach from 1998 to 2007 at Calaveras of San Andreas. His team this spring went 3-2 with losses to St. Mary’s of Stockton and Marin Catholic of Kentfield and with wins against Bellarmine of San Jose, Merced and Buhach Colony of Atwater.
Terry Logue & Scott Savoie (Bear River, Lake of the Pines)
The way that the state record lists are set up for co-coaches (no such thing as half a win), it’s always one of the two who officially gets the win (the so-called coach of record). These two have been together for almost all of Logue’s 251 career wins and they’re both now retiring together. Logue, 70, won his 250th game in the season-opener for the Bruins, but they only finished 2-3. Savoie, 63, and his partner won three CIF Sac-Joaquin Section titles at Bear River. Logue has depended on Savoie a bit more in recent seasons since he has Parkinson’s disease. In their last season, one of the highlights was Bear River playing Western Sierra of Rocklin with its head coach Zach Logue, Terry’s son.
Tim Murphy (Clayton Valley, Concord)
In a recent conversation between Tim and associate editor Harold Abend, he thought he might be getting close or he has 200 wins. It turns out that because we have year-by-year win-loss records for the three schools that Murphy has coached at — Ygnacio Valley of Concord, Clovis East of Clovis and Clayton Valley — we were able to come up with a total: 205-80-1. That means Murphy’s 200th win was when the Ugly Eagles topped Elk Grove in the CIF NorCal D2-AA final and No. 201 was their state title victory over Aquinas of San Bernardino. The breakdown we have is 33-20-1 for five seasons at Ygnacio Valley (1996-2000), 81-39-0 for his years at Clovis East (2001 to 2011 with 2009 being a season he didn’t coach) and now 91-21 at Clayton Valley since 2012. The tricky part of the total is the 2000 season at Clovis East, which was played shortly after the school opened. Murphy took the job in 2000 but didn’t start there until the following season. He instead coached the 2000 season at Ygnacio Valley because as he says he was “close to those seniors.” Clayton Valley will have to honor Coach Murphy at its next home game, which is interesting since it’s unknown when that will be. The Ugly Eagles are opening the 2021 fall season with two road games at Turlock and at Del Oro (Loomis) and then they will be in the Honor Bowl (playing Liberty of Bakersfield), but they currently have no opponents for home games on Sept. 17 or October 1. Coach Murphy and the Clayton Valley program just lost one of its assistant coaches as 59-year-old Samuel Faleafine died unexpectedly on April 29. Faleafine also was an Oakland police officer for 26 years.
Kevin Pearson (Warren, Downey)
One of two coaches to move up seven spots on the all-time state list (the other is San Diego Cathedral Catholic’s Sean Doyle), Pearson enjoyed a 5-0 season at the school he became head coach at in 2019. It was Warren’s first-ever unbeaten season. Pearson coached at Cathedral of Los Angeles for 22 years where he won 196 games and nine league championships. The Bears were 7-4 and played in the CIF Southern Section D6 playoffs in the 2019 season. They were led this season by 6-foot-6 sophomore QB Nicholaus Iamaleava, who Pearson said after the last game was “the best quarterback in the nation.” He should know. He coached Bryce Young (Alabama’s starting QB next season) for the first two years of his high school career at Cathedral.
Bruce Rollinson (Mater Dei, Santa Ana)
It was a third State Team of the Year honor in the last five years for Rollinson after the Monarchs topped St. John Bosco in their final game. Rollinson doesn’t show signs of slowing down after his 73rd birthday and by our count will have 315 career wins at the start of the 2021 fall season. Officially, counting forfeits, Rollinson has 316 career wins (which puts him into a tie for seventh on the all-time state list).