2022 Boys/Girls BB Coaching Updates

Long Beach Millikan girls head coach Lorene Morgan (left) celebrates after her team won a Moore League game to give her 600 for her career. At right is retiring La Salle of Pasadena head coach Michael Lynch, who ends career with 626 triumphs. Photos: YouTube.com & Eric Danielson / Pasadena Outlook.

With all of our state honors for the 2021-22 basketball season complete, the next step for us is to begin doing state record updates in all categories. We begin with new lists of the all-time state coaching leaders for both boys and girls. For boys, Mike LeDuc from Damien of La Verne getting to 1,000 wins was perhaps the biggest achievement. For girls, Melissa Hearlihy from Harvard-Westlake of Studio City won her 800th game while Sue Phillips of San Jose Archbishop Mitty has moved into a tie for third on the all-time list.

To read about this year’s State Coach of the Year (Boys), CLICK HERE.

To read about this year’s State Coach of the Year (Girls), CLICK HERE.

To check out our updated Gold Club list of California’s all-time winningest boys hoops coaches (all with 600 wins or more), CLICK HERE.

To check out our updated Gold Club list of California’s all-time winningest girls hoops coaches (all with 600 wins or more), CLICK HERE.

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(All listed in alphabetical order)

Harvey Kitani (Rolling Hills Prep, San Pedro)
In an early January rout of Vistamar, Kitani became just the fifth coach in California history to reach 900 career wins. For 35 years during his career, of course, he was at Fairfax of Los Angeles, where his teams’ battles with one of the others with 900 wins or more, Ed Azzam of L.A. Westchester, were must-see matchups every season. Kitani has been at Rolling Hills Prep since 2016. He told the L.A. Daily Breeze that he “didn’t know” that the game vs Vistamar was going to be the one in which he got to 900.

We don’t know of any other coaches on the all-time state list who have experience as an assistant coach in the NBA, but Vance Walberg did that once for the Sacramento Kings (shown above). Photo: ClovisRoundup.com.

Mike LeDuc (Damien, La Verne)
The quest for LeDuc to become just the second coach in state history behind Mater Dei’s Gary McKnight to win 1,000 games ended up being a game against his former school, Glendora, on a night that opened up on the schedule just before Damien hosting its own The Classic At Damien. The Spartans got it done for their coach with a win and several former players were able to be on hand, including Glendora stars Tracy Murray and Casey Jacobsen. LeDuc and Damien went on to win the CIF D1 state title, his first state title, and finished 32-4. He also was later named as our State Coach of the Year.

Michael Lynch (La Salle, Pasadena)
After a run at La Salle that began in 2015, Lynch announced his retirement after the 2022 season. He came to the Lancers after a highly successful 19 seasons at small school Price of Los Angeles, where he won six CIF state titles plus 10 CIF Southern Section crowns. Lynch won 511 games at Price and finished with 115 more at La Salle. The school’s AD, Brandon Lincoln, is going to also take over as head coach next season.

Gary McKnight (Mater Dei, Santa Ana)
The longtime head coach of the Monarchs won the 1,200th game of his career not long after he was joined by just the second member in state history of the 1,000 win club. A 26-5 season also included the school’s ongoing state record of winning consecutive league titles being extended to 32 years.

Vance Walberg (Clovis West, Fresno)
With a 31-2 season by the Golden Eagles in 2021-22, despite the graduation loss of one of the state’s best-ever three-point shooters, Cole Anderson, Walberg moved up the most on the all-time state list since the last time it was updated after the 2021 spring season. He surpassed 10 others on the list and is now No. 31, just in front of retired Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) coach Jerry DeBusk, with 639 career wins.

Mark Wudel (Will C. Wood, Vacaville)
The first win for Wudel in the 2021-22 season actually was his 600th, but locally it probably meant more for Wudel when he later won the 615th game of his career. That one moved him just in front of the late Jim Boyd, who coached from 1965 to 1997 at nearby Vanden of Fairfield (right next to Travis Air Force Base). The gym at Vanden naturally is named in Boyd’s honor.

(All listed in alphabetical order)

Melissa Hearlihy (Harvard-Westlake, Studio City)
It wasn’t the usual super team for Hearlihy this season as the Wolverines flirted with the .500 mark in the aftermath of a strong senior class moving on from the previous spring that included Stanford’s Kiki Iriafen. Still, the team needed 17 wins for her to get to 800 and that’s what they got with a 52-37 win over Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks in a third-place tie-breaker game that also got her team a spot in the CIFSS playoffs. It was a first-round exit, so Hearlihy’s record stands at an even 800. She became just the second coach in state history after Mater Dei’s Kevin Kiernan to earn the milestone win. Hearlihy began coaching in 1985 at Alemany of Mission Hills and moved to Harvard-Westlake in 2000.

Melissa Hearlihy will get to look at her win total of 800 on the nose until the start of next season. Photo: Harvard-Westlake Athletics.

Alicia Komaki (Sierra Canyon, Chatsworth)
The only coach, boys or girls, to move up on our all-time list of coaches with the most CIF state titles was Komaki, who earned No. 5 for her program at Sierra Canyon this season. The Trailblazers won the Open Division crown with their triumph over Archbishop Mitty. Komaki is now one state title away from tying her mentor, Mater Dei’s Kevin Kiernan, and two away from the girls’ No. 1 total of seven. The 2018 State Coach of the Year recently was named winner of the 2022 National Coach of the Year by the the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.

Lorene Morgan (Millikan, Long Beach)
She has been at the Long Beach school for more than 30 years and despite having to battle the great teams at Long Beach Poly in the same league racked up her 600th win last January with a victory against Compton. Morgan, who also is the school’s athletic director for girls, told the Long Beach Press-Telegram that she has no immediate plans to stop coaching. “I enjoy what I do. I enjoy being with the kids and I do enjoy winning so we’re good (to go),” she said.

Sue Phillips (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose)
The key number for Sue is 761 because her current win total at the end of the 2022 season matches the one we have for Joe Vaughan of Ventura Buena (coached there from 1976-2007) for the No. 3 position on the all-time state list. When Vaughan retired, he was the winningest head coach in state history at the time. Phillips will be doing USA Basketball coaching again this summer. This time, she will be leading the USA U-17 team at the world championships in Hungary. Last summer, she was head coach of the USA U-16 team that won the FIBA Americas championship.

Jay Trousdale (Poway)
We were humbled that Trousdale sent an email to us about going into retirement on the same day he announced it locally. Trousdale has been a major figure in the CIF San Diego Section for many years and is retiring this year as that section’s all-time winningest head coach. He won his 700th game last spring (tricky for us because a forfeit was involved early on) and ends his 35-year run with a mark of 725-286 (726 with that forfeit win added on).

Rich Yoon (Rosary, Fullerton)
It didn’t take long to start the season for Yoon to earn the 500th win of his coaching career. That happened on Nov. 26 when the Royals defeated Viewpoint of Calabasas, 57-33. The biggest accomplishment for Rosary’s longtime coach (in his 30th season), however, was getting a win in the Trinity League over Mater Dei of Santa Ana and ending in a tie with the Monarchs for the league title. Mater Dei had won in the first matchup in league and won in a later matchup in the CIFSS Open Division playoffs, but any win over the Monarchs by another team in Orange County is huge.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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