Here are the honorees from among those schools considered large or small schools for the 2021-22 season. Our medium schools honoree is the one this year who has been named State Coach of the Year. Our large schools honoree joins his dad as a State Coach of the Year and did something that hadn’t been in Northern California (north of Fresno) for 30 years. Family also was a major factor in the success of our small schools selection since his son was the team’s best player.
Congratulations to the following two California coaches for joining Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year Marlon Gardinera as additional honorees for accomplishments by their teams during the 2021-22 football season. To read more about Coach Gardinera, CLICK HERE.
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State Coach of the Year
Greg Calcagno (St. Francis, Mountain View)
We first saw Greg Calcagno as a quarterback for the Lancers in the early 1980s playing for his father, Ron, the head coach at the school from 1972 to 1995 and still regarded as one of the greatest head coaches in Northern California history.
The younger Calcagno was a freshman at Santa Clara in the fall of 1983 when St. Francis went 13-0, won the CIF Central Coast Section title and was State Team of the Year for the only time in school history. That also was when dad was State Coach of the Year.
Flash forward to 2021 and now the son is getting one of the state’s top coaching honors.
The choice also is partly because of an accomplishment that the younger Calcagno did that matched one by dad: posting a win against De La Salle of Concord. Greg’s team did that in September with a 31-28 triumph over the Spartans and it took a touchdown with 16 seconds left to pull it out. Ron’s team did it in 1989. Since the final game of 1991, De La Salle had not lost to a team from north of the Fresno area. It was an unbeaten streak (there were ties) that had gone on for 318 games.
St. Francis of 2021 may not have matched 1983 at the end, but the Lancers continued to roll after the victory against De La Salle. They won the famed West Catholic Athletic League title (which included a 44-21 win over defending league champ Serra of San Mateo) and were No. 1 in Northern California at 11-1 until losing in a rematch with Serra, 16-12, in the CIF Central Coast Section Division I championship.
Calcagno came back to St. Francis in 2008 to serve primarily in fund-raising (he got his MBA from San Jose State after graduating from Santa Clara). He became the head football coach after the 2013 season when former coach Nick Navarro left to move with his family to Florida. As expected with the family lineage, it’s been a perfect fit.
There have been a couple of hiccups, including last spring’s 3-2 showing, but Calcagno’s teams have won 10 or more games four times in the last six years. This includes 11-3 in 2019, 11-4 in 2018, 10-2 in 2017 and 12-3 in 2016. His first two teams, in both 2014 and 2015, went 9-4. The Lancers also reached two CIF state finals, losing in the D2-A game in 2016 to Citrus Hill of Perris but winning in the D2-A game in 2018 on a bitterly cold, windy day at Sacramento State against Grace Brethren of Simi Valley.
Some of the players from this year’s St. Francis team are likely going to receive some major honors, especially running back Viliami Teu, but for our statewide honors we’re beginning with the team’s coach.
Recent Cal-Hi Sports Medium Schools
State Coaches of the Year
2020 – Mazi Moayad (Marin Catholic, Kentfield)*; 2019 – Mike Moon (Pacifica, Oxnard); 2018 – Mark Cooley (Pleasant Valley, Chico); 2017 – Josh Henderson (Grace Brethren, Simi Valley); 2016 – Trent Merzon (Oakdale); 2015 – Mike Moschetti (La Mirada); 2014 – Kevin Macy (Campolindo, Moraga); 2013 – Scott Meyer (Corona del Mar, Newport Beach); 2012 – Rick Jackson (Madison, San Diego); 2011 – Rick Prinz (Paradise); 2010 – Paul Cronin (Cardinal Newman, Santa Rosa); 2009 – Sean Doyle (Cathedral Catholic, San Diego); 2008 – Lou Farrar (Charter Oak, Covina); 2007 – Ray Fenton (Cypress); 2006 – Eric Reis (Manteca); 2005 – Robin Luken (Lompoc); 2004 – Rob Gilster (Valley Center); 2003 – Tony Martello (Colfax); 2002 – Tom St. Jacques (Lassen, Susanville).
*Games played in spring 2021 due to pandemic. Previous large schools honorees listed with overall State Coach of the Year.
Small Schools State Coach of the Year
Rick Davis (Argonaut, Jackson)
In keeping with the family theme of this year’s state coach of the year announcements, meet Rick Davis from Argonaut High of Jackson. His son, Beau, was the leading player for the Mustangs this season and he is stepping down from being their head coach since his son and his two daughters, Lauryn and Sophia, are both in college now as well.
Davis has ended a 20-year run as Argonaut’s head coach. The Mustangs finished 12-3 and won their first CIF state title with a 47-14 triumph over Quartz Hill. He’s been one of the top small school coaches in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section for most of his tenure at Argonaut, which includes a section title from 2004 when Beau was a baby and the girls were toddlers. Some of Davis’ other top teams were in 2019 (8-4), 2017 (8-4), 2013 (11-1) and 2012 (10-2).
The decision was made by Davis early in the season and he also chose to tell the players in late October right before the school’s rivalry game with Amador of Sutter Creek.
“It felt good to tell them,” Davis told Jeremy Malamud of the Amador Ledger-Dispatch. “There’s a lot of good players coming back next year on this football team. It’s definitely time and to be going out with these guys … couldn’t be any better.”
Chris Musseman of Ripon just two years ago was the last from the SJS who was small schools coach of the year. Two of the section’s winningest coaches ever — Roger Canepa of Modesto Central Catholic in 2014 and Mark Loureiro of Escalon in 2010 — also have been previous honorees.
This year’s team at Argonaut also was a true small school juggernaut since it is a school with an enrollment of 532 students. In the section final, which was a 31-20 win, the Mustangs beat Rosemont of Sacramento (enrollment 1,400). And in the state final, Quartz Hill has an enrollment of 3,200.
“We don’t bat an eye at school size,” Davis told Ron Agostini of Front Row Preps (frontrowpreps.com). “If we did, we wouldn’t even come out to play.”
Recent Cal-Hi Sports Small Schools
State Coaches of the Year
2020 – Ryan Reynolds (Sutter)*; 2019 – Chris Musseman (Ripon); 2018 – Michael Peters (McClymonds, Oakland); 2017 – David Griffiths (Big Bear, Big Bear Lake); 2016 – Jim Kunau (Rancho Christian, Temecula); 2015 – Tom Crawford (Bishop Diego, Santa Barbara); 2014 – Roger Canepa (Central Catholic, Modesto); 2013 – Matt Oliver (Christian, El Cajon); 2012 – Pete Lavorato (Sacred Heart Prep, Atherton); 2011 – Jon Ellinghouse (Sierra Canyon, Chatsworth); 2010 – Mark Louriero (Escalon); 2009 – Jack Moyer (Fort Bragg); 2008 – Frank Marques (Hilmar); 2007 – Kim Jorgensen (Ferndale); 2006 – Travis Brackett (Novato); 2005 – Matt Hunsaker (Central Valley, Shasta Lake); 2004 – Rich Cotruvo (Justin-Siena, Napa); 2003 – Mike Glines (Central Catholic, Modesto); 2002 – Coley Candaele (Carpinteria).
*Games played in spring 2021 due to pandemic.
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