Boys BB: More State Coaches of Year

State D2 Coach of the Year Karega Hart of Oakland Tech is shown hoisting CIF state title trophy. At right, Monterey’s Greg Daniels is collecting a lot of rings lately with CCS and now state titles. Photos: Tony Daquipa / &

Congratulations to all of the Cal-Hi Sports State Coaches of the Year for boys basketball for the 2023-24 season. We have one selected for each CIF division and like the all-state teams the Open Division & Division I are bunched together.


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Matt Dunn (St. John Bosco, Bellflower)

The overall State Coach of the Year is also always the state coach of the year for a division.
Dunn actually was a divisional state coach of the year before for 2015 when he directed his previous school, Damien of La Verne, to the CIF D3 state title. While we have never honored a State Coach of the Year more than once in any sport, there is a situation when we have a coach listed twice for the divisions. That’s when the coach was a divisional honoree from a previous season and later is selected for the overall position. We won’t disqualify someone for the top spot for previously being selected in a division.

Last 14 honorees: 2023 Mike Hansen (San Ramon Dougherty Valley); 2022 Mike LeDuc (La Verne Damien); 2021 Josh Giles (Corona Centennial); 2020 Dave Rebibo (Studio City Harvard-Westlake); 2019 Jonas Honick (Ross Branson); 2018 Dave Kleckner (Etiwanda); 2017 Steve Singleton (Eastvale Roosevelt); 2016 Russell White (Encino Crespi); 2015 Dave Kleckner (Etiwanda); 2014 Nick Jones (Danville Monte Vista); 2013 James Hecht (Santa Monica); 2012 Tony Amundsen (Fresno Bullard); 2011 Gary McKnight (Santa Ana Mater Dei); 2010 Reggie Morris Jr. (Lawndale Leuzinger).

Karega Hart (Oakland Tech)

For the second straight season, the Oakland Athletic League has a state coach of the year. Oakland High’s Orlando Watkins got the nod in D3 in 2023 after his team won a CIF state title. This time, it’s Hart in D2 and it’s after his team won a CIF state title.

The school won a CIF state title in 2019, 2022 and 2023 on the girls side, but it was the boys that got the job done two weeks ago in Sacramento with a surprisingly easy 79-55 victory over Centennial of Bakersfield. It was their first-ever CIF state title as well.

Hart has been the head coach of the boys team at Tech for 14 years and also teaches U.S. History at the school. He also knows all about Tech’s rich history in basketball, including two losses in the D1 state final in back-to-back years (2003, 2004) when the divisions were not based on competitive equity. The head coach of those teams, Hodari McGavock, who won 455 games at the school over a 24-year period, was there at this year’s state final and gave Hart a hug afterward.

“We take pride in being Bulldogs and being from Oakland Tech, but most of all we take pride in being from the city of Oakland, which is a blue collar city that’s focused on love and building our young men,” Hart said after the game.

Getting past Oakland High in the D2 NorCal final also had to happen for Oakland Tech and Hart to go all the way. The Wildcats won in last year’s D3 regional final after they lost to Hart’s crew three times beforehand. This time, the Bulldogs got past Oakland in that same place in the NorCal bracket. Once that happened, the flood gates were open for what happened in the state championship.

McGavock was known as a coach more interested in building young men and not individual honors or coaching wins. Since Hart was one of his own players at Tech in 1995, it looks like that coaching trait is going to continue at the school for more years to come.

Last 14 honorees: 2023 Steve Garrett (Las Flores Tesoro); 2022 Yousef Etemadi (Tustin Foothill); 2021 Tim Kelly (Carmichael Jesuit); 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 Serra); 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).

Bullard’s Tim Amundsen is shown during a game a couple of years ago in which his team is playing brother Tony’s team at Clovis North. Photo: Clovis Roundup.

Tim Amundsen (Bullard, Fresno)

One of those also considered for the overall State Coach of the Year was Tim’s brother, Tony, who guided Clovis North to a big win over St. Joseph of Santa Maria in the CIF Central Section D1 championship. The family still gets into the coach of the year mix, however, with Tim gaining the honor for D3.

Bullard made a gallant run in the CIF NorCal D3 playoffs despite losing highly regarded sophomore Ja’Vance Coleman Jr. with a broken foot. The Knights won on the road in the regional semifinals over a 28-3 team from Justin-Siena of Napa, but lost in the regional final to Santa Cruz. Another sophomore, Dalen Felder, picked up the slack as leading scorer. Bullard finished with a 26-9 final record.

Amundsen also benefits in collecting a coaching honor from us by being someone with a long record of success, including a 400th win he had in 2022 and winning three CIF Central Section titles in his career during previous stops at Hoover of Fresno, Clovis East of Clovis and Central of Fresno.

Tim became the head coach at Bullard in the 2016 season, four years after his brother Tony was named as the 2012 D1 State Coach of the Year when he was the head coach at Bullard before he moved over to Clovis North. In that same year, Richmond Salesian’s Bill Mellis was named State Coach of the Year after his team won the 2012 CIF D4 state crown. Both of the Amundsen brothers have now been divisional state coaches of the year but could still be State Coach of the Year (overall) possibly at some point. Tim also is the first-ever D3 state honoree from the CIF Central Section.

While Tony got to coach both of his sons (and Tim’s nephews) Connor and McKae this season at Clovis North, Tim coached his son Nathan for Central of Fresno as a senior in the 2012-13 season. Daughter Tess Amundsen was a member of Clovis West’s 2017 team that upset Archbishop Mitty in the CIF Open Division state championship and later earned All-Big West honors at Cal State Northridge. Another daughter, Laney, also played at Cal State Northridge while another daughter, Bailey, played at Fresno State.

The brothers also are joined as successful high school basketball coaches by their other brother, Ty, but he’s not in the CIF. Instead, he is at Millennium of Goodyear, Ariz. That team this year went on a run to the Open Division state championship in Arizona before falling to Perry of Chandler.

Last 14 honorees: 2023 Orlando Watkins (Oakland); 2022 David Galley (Venice); 2021 Don Dumas (Chula Vista Bonita Vista); 2020 Rich Buckner (Berkeley St. Mary’s); 2019 Randy Bessolo (San Francisco University); 2018 Tim Keating (Chico Pleasant Valley); 2017 Arnold Zelaya (San Francisco Mission); 2016 David Brigante (Santa Barbara); 2015 Matt Dunn (La Verne Damien); 2014 Todd Wolfson (West Hills Chaminade); 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).

Greg Daniels (Monterey)

It’s hard to know what’s more impressive about Daniels’ recent successes in coaching at his alma mater. Is it the three CIF Central Coast Section D3 or D2 championships that the Dores have won in 2017, 2019 and 2023 or the CIF D4 state championship from earlier this month won in Sacramento?

It’s probably the state crown in D4 because of the way that Daniels’ squad rolled to the title. After losing in the CCS D3 semifinals to eventual D3 state runner-up Santa Cruz, the only close game in a march to the state title was a win by three points in the NorCal regional playoffs over Natomas of Sacramento.

That trend continued in the state final with a 74-66 victory over Chatsworth. The seeds would indicate that it was some kind of Cinderella story for the Dores as they started out only No. 14 in NorCal bracket and beat the No. 1 seed from the South, but seeding by the CIF in the competitive equity era of the playoffs in recent seasons has been questionable at the minimum and obviously way off in some brackets. Still, the low seed forced Daniels and his players to have to travel at least two to three hours for each one of its regional playoff games.

With a player like sophomore Alijah Arenas, however, Chatsworth was favored by most in the CIF state finals and despite Arenas scoring 44 points it was Monterey that looked like the better team from early on in the state final. Grid-hooper Kavon Collins had 22 points for the Dores. Brothers Joshua and Ryan Roth had 19 and 18 points. Ryan was the team’s leading scorer for the season and has been named Monterey Herald Player of the Year.

Daniels, a former football and basketball player at the school, has been the boys basketball head coach at Monterey since 2005 and has been coaching at the school for 24 years. He also works in family services in the Monterey Unified School District. His daughter, Gianna, a junior, was the third leading scorer on this year’s 14-13 Monterey High girls basketball team.

Daniels is the second straight D4 state coach of the year from the CCS after John Parsons of Half Moon Bay from last season. He’s just the second ever from Monterey County for D4 since the first divisional honors were done in 1988. The only other one has been Bob Burlison from Palma of Salinas in 1992.

Last 14 honorees: 2023 John Parsons (Half Moon Bay); 2022 Brock Flint (San Diego Scripps Ranch); 2021 Terry Tucker (San Ysidro); 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).

Jared Gibson (Verdugo Hills, Tujunga)

State Coach of the Year Matt Dunn is not the only one from a SoCal school with Northern California roots who is getting a state coaching honor from a SoCal school. Gibson is from Stockton and was a four-sport athlete in the mid-1990s at St. Mary’s High School.

Since 2008, Jared has been the head coach at Verdugo Hills. When he arrived, the school had not won a league title since 1959. The Dons got that done in 2010 and that same year they won the L.A. City Section D3 championship. That 25-8 team also helped Gibson gain selection as the L.A. Times Coach of the Year.

This season marked Gibson’s 17th at the school and he’s also settled in as a PE teacher. The Dons (25-12) were not expected to go on the run they did, which lasted until the CIF D5 state championship game in a loss to Athenian of Danville. They won in an upset over top seed Garfield of Los Angeles, 53-43, to win the L.A. City Section D2 championship. That Garfield team not only was top seed but had a record of 25-2. In the CIF SoCal D5 playoffs, L.A. City D1 runner-up San Pedro was the top seed. Gibson’s team didn’t beat the Pirates, but they took down the North of Bakersfield squad in the regional finals that ousted San Pedro.

Gibson is just the second D5 state coach of the year from the L.A. City Section since the first divisional honors were done in 1988. The first was James Wilkes from View Park Prep for the 2007 season.

Last 14 honorees: 2023 Ryan Watt (Tollhouse Sierra); 2022 Charles Johnson (San Francisco Stuart Hall); 2021 Alfonso Alvarado (Fowler); 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 (La Canada Renaissance Academy); 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).

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

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