State Coach of Year: Corrigan Willis

State Coach of the Year Corrigan Willis holds CIF NorCal D1 plaque surrounded by the other coaches on the staff. Photo: @matadorbaseball /

There hadn’t been a State Coach of the Year from the East Bay region of the CIF North Coast Section from 2011 until last year. But now it’s two in a row as Granada of Livermore’s Corrigan Willis follows De La Salle’s David Jeans after his team had one of the greatest seasons a team has had in Northern California history.


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As the wins were piling up for the 2024 Granada High of Livermore baseball team and the rankings kept going higher and higher, there was still a rather large local shadow that the Matadors always had to deal with.

That’s the one that was cast by the program of East Bay Athletic League rival De La Salle of Concord, which was going on a streak of five straight CIF North Coast Section D1 titles and two straight CIF NorCal D1 regional titles. Until Granada could beat De La Salle in the NCS playoffs or NorCal playoffs, there would be doubts among many longtime journalists in the region. Winning in the regular season, which the Matadors had done, just wasn’t enough.

It took 14 innings and two days when the two teams met for the NCS title, but when it was over with a 1-0 win and when Granada also had shut out the Spartans the following week in the NorCal playoffs, the shadow was completely gone. And now that the team also has won the NorCal title and completed a 32-1 record, the only ones basking in sunlight would be the Matadors.

While it wasn’t possible to jump Granada to the top of the state rankings as Corona of the CIF Southern Section won its title in impressive fashion with one of the most talent-laden squads perhaps in state history, one of the rewards of its own historically great season is that head coach Corrigan Willis is being honored as the 2024 State Coach of the Year.

Coach Willis is shown with his sons Bryce and xxxx in a photo that was taken three years ago (2021) at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton. Bryce was on the Granada JV team this season. Photo:

The State Coach of the Year honor by Cal-Hi Sports has been annually selected for more than 40 years and also goes back more than 100 years with retroactive selections based on years of research in the 1970s and 1980s by late Cal-Hi Sports founder Nelson Tennis.

Willis is ironically following De La Salle’s David Jeans on the all-time list of honorees. Jeans was the choice for 2023. Before that, it had been since 2011 when there was a winner from the NCS. There’s still only eight now on the all-time state list.

Even before this season, Willis has been one of the most respected baseball coaches in Northern California. This was his 16th season at the school where he graduated from in 1996 and from 2010 to 2018 the Matadors qualified for the NCS playoffs for nine straight seasons. His team in 2013 had a chance to finish No. 1 in the state as it was sitting in the top position with a 24-1 record entering the NCS D1 playoffs, but was upset in the semifinals by league rival Amador Valley.

This year’s team not only defeated De La Salle twice at the end, but shut out the Spartans for 21 innings. It was two of four playoff shutouts and two of 10 shutouts on the season. The Matadors also outscored their opponents by a 241-61 margin, including 38-6 in the postseason, and they had a 1.22 team ERA.

In the CIF NorCal D1 final, Granada got past CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 champion St. Mary’s of Stockton, 6-4. The Rams made it interesting after falling behind 5-0, but a key insurance run came in during the bottom of the sixth inning and then Granada’s A.J. Hattaway came through with shutout innings in the sixth and seventh innings.

“There were so many huge, monumental moments, high-leverage moments this year that we just figured out how to make the play either defensively or get the hit,” Willis said in an interview with the Independent News after the final game.

Stanford-bound senior Parker Warner led the pitching with a 13-0 record and 0.93 ERA. He also batted .367, led the team in doubles and has been named Bay Area Player of the Year by both the Bay Area News Group and San Francisco Chronicle. Junior infielder Mikey Boyd and junior pitcher Jake Sekany were also on the All-Bay Area teams while other top hitters included senior Riley Winchell (33 hits) and junior Tommy Brown (34 hits). Senior A.J. Martinez had the game-winning hits vs DLS in the NCS final and vs Clovis West of Fresno in the NorCal playoffs.

To say that Corrigan is steeped in Granada High culture might be an understatement. Not only was he a standout baseball player at the school, who was all-league in 1996 as a senior with an 8-2 pitching record and .418 batting average, but his late father, Jim, taught English at the school for 35 years from 1968 to 2003. His brother, Kenon, also helps coach the Granada team and is the head freshman coach. Willis later played at Metro State in Denver and did an internship for the Rocky Mountain News to consider a future career in journalism, but instead pursued a teaching/coaching career.

The Willis family’s contributions to the Granada program also figure to be made on the field in coming years. Corrigan’s son, Bryce, 15, was on the Granada JV team this season and another son, Ryan, 12, is on the way as well.

After the last game, Willis also was asked by the Independent News’ Phil Jensen about what made this year’s team so strong: “Talent, for one. Great senior leadership. Guys accepting lesser roles than maybe they’re used to. And when you put all those things together, good things are going to happen.”

From a historical perspective, several journalists have asked us about Granada’s place among the Bay Area’s all-time best teams. The answer is that we will have to wait a few years to see if that goes up or down depending on the success of the players on the team. De La Salle’s 2019 team, for example, which won 28 games in a row as part of a 29-1 season but wasn’t able to win a regional title since those playoffs hadn’t begun yet, has gone up since pitcher Kyle Harrison is already in the starting rotation of the San Francisco Giants. El Cerrito of 1983 (which is another team we saw in person) and Redwood of Larkspur for 1977 are others generally in the conversation.

We know that coaches of the year also can’t have the type of success that Willis had without major contributions from assistants. Those listed as Corrigan’s assistants on MaxPreps are Jason Sekany, Tim Rankin and Kent Field.

All-Time List Cal-Hi Sports
State Baseball Coaches Of The Year

De La Salle of Concord head coach David Jeans directs team after final game in 2019 season. Photo: Mark Tennis.

2024 – Corrigan Willis, Livermore Granada (32-1)
2023 – David Jeans, Concord De La Salle (27-5)
2022 – Benji Medure, Huntington Beach (25-9)
2021 – Jared Halpert, Studio City
Harvard-Westlake (30-4)
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 (33-4)
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.

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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