Congratulations to all of the Cal-Hi Sports State Coaches of the Year for boys basketball for the 2020-21 season. We have one selected for each CIF division despite no state championships for the second straight season. We almost always honor the overall State Coach of the Year from a school that was in the Open Division or Division 1, but not every time. Two of this year’s honorees are from the CIF San Diego Section.
For more on this year’s overall State Coach of the Year announcement, CLICK HERE.
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OPEN DIVISION/DIVISION I
Josh Giles (Centennial, Corona)
As the overall 2020-21 State Coach of the Year, Giles also goes down as the official choice for teams in the state that were in the CIF SoCal Open Division and those that were Division I according to our own five-division breakdowns. He’s the third from the Inland Empire to get the nod in these divisions since 2015. One of the other three, however, Dave Kleckner of Etiwanda, appears twice. Kleckner was the Open/D1 selection for 2015 and also had to be named for 2018 as that was the season in which he was selected as State Coach of the Year. Both Giles and Kleckner won’t be eligible for our coaching honors again because we’ve always limited it to just once. We will pick a coach once for overall and once for division, which is what has happened not only for Kleckner but also for Mater Dei’s Gary McKnight and Jonas Honick from Branson of Ross.
Last 11 honorees: 2020 Dave Rebibo (Harvard-Westlake, Studio City); 2019 Jonas Honick (Branson, Ross); 2018 Dave Kleckner (Etiwanda); 2017 Steve Singleton (Eastvale Roosevelt); 2016 Russell White (Encino Crespi); 2015 Dave Kleckner (Etiwanda); 2014 Nick Jones (Monte Vista, Danville); 2013 James Hecht (Santa Monica); 2012 Tony Amundsen (Fresno Bullard); 2011 Gary McKnight (Santa Ana Mater Dei); 2010 Reggie Morris Jr. (Lawndale Leuzinger).
Tim Kelly (Jesuit, Carmichael)
There were no CIF section or regional titles for Jesuit to win since the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section cancelled its playoffs before the season began. Coach Kelly’s club, however, did something very difficult and that’s complete a 16-0 season. One of the wins came against an Elk Grove squad that lost only that one game. Now, after the Marauders were D2 State Team of the Year, it’s Kelly who is earning the No. 1 coaching honor for that state division.
Jesuit has had great success with its basketball coaches in the last 30 years beginning with Hank Meyer in the 1990s who led two straight teams to NorCal D1 championships. Kelly was in his third season after taking over from Jon Rotz. He began in 2015 after Greg Harcos, who had been the coach for 13 previous seasons and had guided Jesuit teams to section titles in 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2012.
Kelly does a lot more at Jesuit than just coach basketball. He’s been at the school since 2004 and is currently the Director of Student Activities as well as social studies teacher. His team this year was balanced, but led by sophomore 6-foot-6 wing Andrej Stojakovic and senior point guard Isa Silva (Stanford).
The last D2 State Coach of the Year from the Sac-Joaquin Section was Mike Wall of Folsom for 2014. Hank Meyer was selected as the D1 State Coach of the Year in 1994.
Last 11 honorees: 2020 Jeff Staniland (Oxnard); 2019 Jerry DeFabiis (Colony, Ontario); 2018 Ryan Bailey (Los Angeles Brentwood); 2017 Mark Hill (Anaheim Esperanza); 2016 Michael Booker (El Cerrito); 2015 Chuck Rapp (San Mateo); 2014 Mike Wall (Folsom); 2013 Reggie Morris Jr. (Redondo Beach Redondo Union); 2012 Patrick Roy (Inglewood); 2011 Dan Larson (Ventura); 2010 Jason Bryant (San Diego Lincoln).
Don Dumas (Bonita Vista, Chula Vista)
We admittedly look for great teachers who happen to be coaches to be one of those honored in this space each year, and Dumas clicks that box with a stick of dynamite. Just last year (2019-20) he was the Teacher of the Year for the Sweetwater Union High School District and was one of five San Diego County Teachers of the Year.
As a basketball coach, Dumas has been leading the Bonita Vista boys program since 2014. His team this year won the CIF SoCal D2-A regional title with a 77-71 triumph over Shalhevet of Los Angeles. The Barons (D3 in our five-division state format) finished 17-7, but some of the losses were in competitive games against other top-ranked teams from higher divisions in the San Diego Section. Dumas’ team in 2019-20 also won 20 games.
The coach took some heat from some in social media when he was critical of the CIF for scheduling that regional title game vs. Shalhevet on a Monday morning. The game couldn’t be played on Saturday night at the scheduled time due to the Jewish sabbath. Dumas said his school respected those observances, but requested a Sunday waiver and an 11 p.m. start time. There were schedule issues for himself and some players for Monday morning, but the game was played at that time and Bonita Vista won.
Since Dumas is an AP U.S. History teacher at the school, here’s some history for him. He’s the first D3 State Coach of the Year from the San Diego Section since Mike Haupt of St. Augustine in 2013 (who was State Coach of the Year then as well). There haven’t been any others since the divisional state coaching honors began in 1988.
Three Bonita Vista seniors — Damascus Sanders, Morris Stokes nd Damajae Sanders — all ended their careers with 1,000 or more points. “They have more heart than most and I love them like my sons,” Dumas said in a tweet.
Last 11 honorees: 2020 Rich Buckner (St. Mary’s, Berkeley); 2019 Randy Bessolo (University, San Francisco); 2018 Tim Keating (Chico Pleasant Valley); 2017 Arnold Zelaya (San Francisco Mission); 2016 David Brigante (Santa Barbara); 2015 Matt Dunn (Damien, La Verne); 2014 Todd Wolfson (Chaminade, West Hills); 2013 Mike Haupt (San Diego St. Augustine); 2012 Tim Tucker (Pasadena); 2011 Eric Cooper Sr. (La Verne Lutheran); 2010 Dwan Hurt (Gardena Serra); 2009 Jim Harris Sr. (Huntington Beach Ocean View).
Terry Tucker (San Ysidro)
Although his teams at San Ysidro since 2008 have won 10 league titles and this year won the CIF D3-AA SoCal regional crown, Tucker always lists his military experience first among his accomplishments: 23 years as a naval weapons officer (now retired).
This proved to be a good year to honor Tucker for D4 (which is where the Cougars were placed in our five-division state format). His team in 2019-20 had gone 25-10, had won the San Diego Section D3 title and was looking for huge impact since ninth-grader Mikey Williams was State Freshman of the Year and ranked by some as the top Class of 2023 prospect in the nation. But Williams and another freshman standout (Jurian Dixon) transferred out of the program. Tucker went to work and got other players to come in, led by junior Martin Flores (25 ppg), and San Ysidro went 23-7. The Cougars topped Linfield Christian of Temecula 73-71 to win their first SoCal regional title.
Tucker began his coaching career in the early 2000s at Crawford of San Diego. One of his players there, Tyrone Shelley, set the San Diego Section career scoring record in 2007 with 2,962 points. That record was broken in 2016 by T.J. Leaf of Foothills Christian, but is still No. 11 on the all-time state list.
The last San Diego Section D4 coach of the year was Jim Tomey from Francis Parker in 2006. Zack Jones of Horizon is listed back-to-back for 2002 and 2003 because in 2003 he was the overall State Coach of the Year after landing the divisional honor for the previous season.
Last 11 honorees: 2020 Luke Williams (Stockton Brookside Christian); 2019 Danny O’Fallon (Los Angeles Roybal Learning Center); 2018 Kraig Clifton (San Andreas Calaveras); 2017 Derek Walker (Vallejo St. Patrick-St. Vincent); 2016 J.J. Prince (Calabasas Viewpoint); 2015 Russell White (Encino Crespi); 2014 Doug Mitchell (Torrance Bishop Montgomery); 2013 Tom Bonfigli (Santa Rosa Cardinal Newman); 2012 Bill Mellis (Richmond Salesian); 2011 Miguel Villegas (Los Angeles Windward); 2010 Manny Nodar (Berkeley St. Mary’s).
Alfonso Alvarado (Fowler)
To say it was a long time coming for Coach Alvarado and the Redcats to win a CIF Central Section title might be the understatement of the year.
The last six teams he’s had prior to this year all had their chances, but this is the group that got to celebrate the school’s first section boys hoops title in 105 years. Section historian Bob Barnett, of course, is responsible for knowing that fact and letting people know about it.
Amneet Basra led the team in scoring with 21 points in the section final 59-55 win over Sierra of Tollhouse, including two free throws with 6.3 seconds left to clinch it.
Fowler moved on after winning that section crown to win the CIF SoCal D6-AA regional title. The Redcats edged Maranatha Christian of San Diego, 50-48, in the championship game and capped an 18-1 season.
Alvarado has been the team’s head coach for 11 years. The last seven have been especially impressive with win-loss records of 18-1, 27-6, 21-5, 17-10, 19-5, 18-8 and 20-4.
The only other D5 state coach of the year in boys hoops from the CIF Central Section since the divisional coaching honors began in 1988 has been John Thiesen from Immanuel of Reedley in 2001.
Last 11 honorees: 2020 Mike Fulton (San Anselmo San Domenico); 2019 Donovan Blythe (East Palo Alto Eastside College Prep); 2018 James Mosley (Canyon Country Santa Clarita Christian); 2017 Robbie Robinson (Riverside Notre Dame); 2016 Don Lippi (Alameda St. Joseph Notre Dame); 2015 John Maffucci (Carlsbad Army-Navy); 2014 Sid Cooke (Renaissance Academy, La Canada); 2013 Kevin McCloskey (San Gabriel Academy); 2012 Jon Shaw (Sun Valley Village Christian); 2011 Mike Jarvis (Vacaville Christian); 2010 Ed Kelly (Watsonville St. Francis CCC).