With two straight CIF Northern California D1 regional titles and six straight CIF North Coast Section D1 titles, the time is right to get De La Salle of Concord’s David Jeans onto the all-time state list of State Coaches of the Year in baseball. He’s just the seventh all-time from the East Bay portion of the NCS since 1933 to join the list and the first from the NCS since 2011.
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If there are similarities as to how the De La Salle of Concord baseball team is run compared to the legendary football dynasty at the school from 1992 to 2003 and then from 2009 to 2015, it’s because the school’s baseball coach since 2011 was once part of it.
Current head coach David Jeans had already been teaching at De La Salle for 10 years and was the JV football coach in 2011 when he was named as the leader of the baseball program. At the time, the Spartans had had three coaching changes in five years. The instability began in 2008 when current Orange Lutheran head coach Eric Borba left for that job in Orange County after five seasons at DLS. Former San Ramon Valley of Danville head coach Rick Steen then came out of retirement to coach at DLS for two seasons and then Matt Castello coached for one before Jeans took over.
Jeans, who also had previous baseball coaching experience at Diablo Valley College, has done more than stabilize the program. It’s now soaring to heights similar to football and now after the Spartans have won their second straight CIF NorCal D1 title and their sixth straight CIF North Coast Section title he is getting the honor for 2023 as the Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year.
“Wow, thank you,” Jeans texted on Thursday after receiving the news. “I appreciate that. Unreal. Happy for the kids.
“It’s a testimony to the players and the program. They believe in the values of the school.”
Just like in 2022, the Spartans had to scratch and claw their way back to win big games in the late innings to earn their 2023 NorCal regional title.
In the 2022 NorCal D1 final, DLS trailed St. Francis of Mountain View 6-3 heading to the bottom of the seventh but scored four times to pull out a 7-6 win. This season, the Spartans were down 8-5 to Valley Christian of San Jose entering the top of the seventh before rallying for six runs to take an 11-8 lead, with the final four runs coming on a two-out grand slam by junior Hank Tripaldi. This time, it wasn’t a walk off win since Valley Christian still came up to bat in the bottom of the seventh. The final out on a grounder came with two runners on base.
After that 2022 title, De La Salle (27-6) also rose up to grab the final No. 1 state ranking. The Spartans couldn’t do that again, but ended at No. 3 at 27-5.
Jeans had a more dominant team in 2019 when there were no CIF regional playoffs taking place after the section playoffs. That group won its last 28 games in a row, ended 29-1 and was named State Team of the Year in a close call over 31-3 Cypress of the CIF Southern Section. De La Salle’s leading pitcher off of that team, Kyle Harrison, is currently viewed as one of the top minor league prospects in MLB and is expected to make his MLB debut later this summer for the San Francisco Giants.
Kyle’s younger brother, catcher Connor “Bear” Harrison, was one of the senior leaders for this year’s team and has been named Bay Area News Group Player of the Year as well as East Bay Athletic League Player of the Year. Other seniors in a group highly praised by Jeans included outfielders Tanner Griffith (St. Mary’s) and Kai Smith (uncommitted), infielder Smith Chandler (Cal State Northridge) and pitcher Cal Randall (UCLA).
“I couldn’t be more proud of the seniors and what they accomplished this year,” Jeans said. “They will be hard to replace. The staff at DLS also is the backbone of the program.”
De La Salle has not had a State Coach of the Year in baseball before, but has had them two other sports in which there are all-time lists that go back 100 years or more. That would be Bob Ladouceur in football for 1986 and Frank Allocco in boys basketball for 2000. No coach is ever picked more than once and in a state as large as California with so many great coaches that has never been an issue and enables there to be as many who can be honored as possible.
John Goulding from James Logan of Union City, who won the 2011 NCS title in the last game that the Spartans did not have Jeans as their head coach, was the last coach from the East Bay who has been State Coach of the Year. The group of five others from the region who are on the list includes former DLS coach Steen from his years at San Ramon Valley (2004) and the legendary George Powles of Oakland McClymonds from 1952, who coached many all-time great players from that school, including Bill Russell in basketball and Frank Robinson in baseball.
As a former member of the staff under Ladouceur in football, Jeans had this to say in an interview we found from two years ago.
“He helped me establish a development first program,” he said in the Ahead of the Curve podcast on YouTube with Jonathan Gelnar. “It’s about developing the person, student, and player. Focus on developing every single player in your program.”
That is very true, and the winning with multiple major championships in a row tends to simply come along for the ride.
All-Time List Cal-Hi Sports
State Baseball Coaches Of The Year
2023 – David Jeans, Concord De La Salle (27-5)
2022 – Benji Medure, Huntington Beach (25-9)
2021 – Jared Halpert, Studio City
2020 – No selection (pandemic)
2019 – John Weber, Cypress (31-3)
2018 – Bob Zamora, Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley (25-10)
2017 – Mike Gonzales, Lake Forest El Toro (27-7-1)
2016 – Gary Remiker,
San Diego Cathedral Catholic (25-9)
2015 – John Donohue, San Francisco Lowell (25-8)
2014 – James Davis, El Cajon Granite Hills (26-7)
2013 – Jeff Carlson, Elk Grove (29-5)
2012 – Steve Vickery, Lakeside El Capitan (31-7)
2011 – John Goulding, Union City James Logan
2010 – Tom Donald, Clovis Buchanan (29-5)
2009 – Pete Jensen, San Mateo Serra (30-6)
2008 – Jeff Phillips, La Mesa Grossmont (29-7)
2007 – John Diatte, San Jose Valley Christian
2006 – Spud O’Neil, Lakewood (29-5-1)
2005 – Bill Hutton, San Jose Archbishop Mitty (28-6)
2004 – Rick Steen, Danville San Ramon Valley (25-8)
2003 – Justin Machado, Carlsbad La Costa Canyon (32-1)
2002 – Dave Currie, Santa Clara Wilcox (34-3)
2001 – Tom Muesborn, Chatsworth (31-2)
2000 – Harry Jenkins, Torrance West (29-2)
1999 – Joe Walters, Santa Ana Calvary Chapel (27-1-1)
1998 – James Patrick, Clovis (33-2)
1997 – Dave Brunell, Santa Maria St. Joseph (29-0)
1996 – Dennis Pugh, San Diego Mission Bay (29-5)
1995 – Dave Demarest, Westminster La Quinta (28-3-1)
1994 – Ron LaRuffa, Fountain Valley (27-3-1)
1993 – Mike Maio, Woodland Hills El Camino Real (24-2)
1992 – Dan Peters, Long Beach Millikan (22-5-1)
1991 – Jeff Meredith, La Mesa Grossmont (28-1)
1990 – Mickey McNamee, San Marino (23-2-1)
1989 – Sam Blalock, San Diego Mt. Carmel (25-2)
1988 – Chris Sims, Moraga Campolindo (24-5)
1987 – Don Ardissone, San Jose Bellarmine (26-7)
1986 – Mike Curran, Anaheim Esperanza (25-3-1)
1985 – Dave Perkins, Hanford (23-5)
1984 – Darryl Stroh, Granada Hills (16-2-1)
1983 – Larry Quirico, El Cerrito (27-1)
1982 – Jim Garrett, Tulare (21-5)
1981 – Guy Anderson, Rancho Cordova (28-8)
1980 – Mike Noakes, Fresno Bullard (29-2)
1979 – John Bachman, Covina (27-3)
1978 – Al Endriss, Larkspur Redwood (30-5)
1977 – Lou Zuardo, South S.F. El Camino (28-1)
1976 – John Herbold, Lakewood (22-4-1)
1975 – Jack Hannah, Fresno Hoover (29-2)
1974 – Jim O’Brien, Torrance North (26-6-1)
1973 – John Stevenson, El Segundo (30-5)
1972 – Hi LaValle, Compton Dominguez (22-4-1)
1971 – Denny Holt, Sepulveda Monroe (19-0)
1970 – Dan Bodary, Lompoc (27-1)
1969 – Bob Myers, Long Beach Millikan (21-6)
1968 – Bill Sandback, San Diego Crawford (21-7)
1967 – Marvin Wood, Torrance Bishop Montgomery (27-3)
1966 – Bill Cox, Oakland St. Elizabeth (23-5)
1965 – Al Exton, Arcadia (21-4)
1964 – Bob Zuber, Van Nuys Birmingham (18-1)
1963 – Bill Kelly, Redondo Beach Aviation (20-3)
1962 – Dick Sperbeck, Sacramento Bishop Armstrong (22-2)
1961 – Elmo Ferrari, Ojai Villanova (17-0)
1960 – Jake Abbott, Fresno Roosevelt (20-2)
1959 – Howard Johnson, Inglewood Morningside (20-6)
1958 – Ken Proctor, Ontario Chaffey (20-5)
1957 – Ollie Bidwell, Fresno (22-2)
1956 – Bill Ziegler, Eureka (18-0)
1955 – Bob Patterson, Vallejo (20-1)
1954 – Ed Grimm, Redding Shasta (14-0)
1953 – Charles Doyle, Compton (23-2)
1952 – George Powles, Oakland McClymonds (16-0)
1951 – Cliff Perry, Sacramento McClatchy (22-0-1)
1950 – Harry Brubaker, L.A. Dorsey (17-0*)
1949 – Al Kyte, Oakland Technical (8-2, League)
1948 – Len Porterfield, Santa Maria (16-2)
1947 – Cliff Meyer, Long Beach Wilson (20-3)
1946 – Walt Williams, San Jose (17-2)
1945 – Pop Elder, S.F. Mission (10-0, League)
1944 – Bob Fatjo, San Jose Bellarmine (13-2)
1943 – Les Haserot, L.A. Fremont (13-1)
1942 – Roy Engle, San Diego Hoover (13-0 vs. Prep Teams)
1941 – Ras Johnson, S.F. Galileo (12-1*)
1940 – George Wolfman, S.F. Mission (11-1*)
1939 – Dewey Morrow, San Diego (22-5)
1938 – George Sperry, Glendale
1937 – Bernie Baumeister, S.F. Commerce (12-2, League)
1936 – Lyle Kinnear, Long Beach Polytechnic (23-2)
1935 – Ed Combatalade, Sacramento (20-1)
1934 – Myles Regan, L.A. Cathedral (13-5-1)
1933 – Kit Carlson, Santa Maria (9-1)
*League and playoff record
Note: Selections prior to 1980 made retroactively by our founder, the late Nelson Tennis. Coaches are only chosen once in their careers, which has never been a problem in such a great baseball state as California.