Logan coordinator Eric Billeci named Cal High football coach

The search if finally over.

California High principal Mark Corti announced today that James Logan defensive coordinator Eric Billeci has been tabbed as the next football coach.

Billeci played at De La Salle and later at Saint Mary’s College before getting into teaching and coaching immediately following that.

He has served as the defensive coordinator at Freedom under Kevin Hartwig and most recently under George Zuber at Logan for the past three years.

Billeci is a PE teacher at James Logan — Cal does not have any teaching jobs open for next year at this time.

He is expected to bring a power-type running game as the base offense, something that rising-senior offensive lineman Max Schultz said the team is happy about.

“That’s pretty much what we were last year, we’re definitely happy to be a running team,” Shultz said.

Billechi replaces former coach Tony Sanchez, who compiled a 35-21 record over the past five seasons. During Sanchez’ tenure Cal won its first North Coast Section playoff game and advanced to the NCS 4A championship game in 2007.

Sanchez left after accepting the head coaching position at Nevada state power Bishop Gorman-Las Vegas in early March.

Strength and conditioning coach Sean Manuel, who was a finalist for the head coaching job, will remain with the program.

Kyle Bonagura

Kyle Bonagura is a Pleasanton-based prep sports writer for the Bay Area Newsgroup-East Bay.

  • HAAL Fan

    Because as inexperienced as Billeci is, more so is Manuel. That’s all I can think of.

  • cal fan

    What happened to coach Hoefs?Will he be staying with the program?

  • Prep Fan

    Word has it Hoefs will stay on as the frosh coach.


    i think cal will be a at the top with us and they will end up beating us because as a 2nd string watching everyone else… we will be way overrated… almost as good as last year but who knows..


  • GrizzliesBB

    I remember when Tony Sanchez was announced as Head Coach some 5 years ago…..He came in and was fired up and ready to take the program on and produce a consistent winner. At that time, most parents were in a wait and see mode….Well, as a parent of 3 football players at Cal, I am excited that this program is generating so much hype! The kids are great! The faculty is outstanding! The community really rallies around this football team! I really do not care of this “have to beat DeLaSalle” mentality. I am excited to see these young men work hard for a purpose and become better men because if it. That is what a Team sport is all about. They will be competitive and will win more games than they lose…..What they become after they leave Cal is most important!

  • KIsstheRing

    Ok, I will try this one more time.

    When Sanchez came in the program and facilities were a wreck. Mind you the kids were big, strong, physical kids. The same kids that are in the youth program now. Around the bay area people knew that Cal was a sleeping giant. And Tony and his STAFF woke that giant and molded it from a group of big, strong , fast , physical kids into a very good football team. ANd even with all that work and time it is a team that went 6-4 last year. And now 5 years later Tony moves on. The parents, kids and administration get together and hire a young guy with no experience who says….I WILL CHANGE AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE. So my question is this:

    If the community that surrounds Cal is so full of great athletes, if the youth program is top notch, and the high school program is loaded with Div 1 kids….how come Cal NEVER won before Tony?

    My short answer, it takes a coach.

    Tony is a great football coach, fire and battle tested before he ever put on an orange shirt. He dragged that program to the forefront with his unique style and methods. You cannot ask a young man who never coached with Tony, to change nothing and be successful.

    Coach Bellieci is a hard working coaches’ coach. With 1 win as a DC against ab EBAL team, and like 6 losses.

    There are people upset because they feel like the program will step back and a lot of cheered from the outside while Cal and it’s kids built something. We all love the underdog. Who will lead Cal when big and strong aren’t enough? Cal has a long inglorious record of losses with big fast kids on the field running bad plays within barely coherent schemes.

    Will the Cal community be happy at 4-6 to 8-2 for the next 10 years with no NCS championship play-off appearences, with great kids who learn the same life lessons I believe are being taught on most fields?

    Or do they yearn to become a team that sits and plays on the national stage?

    Bellvue, WA
    Jenks, OK
    Allen, TX
    Clovis East, CA

    You all were pretty fired up about the Bellvue game. 7-3 teams don’t get those games. But hey good luck against Washington.

  • cal fan

    Does anyone know what the coaching staff will look like next year?

  • The Wood

    I hope that this new coach is ready for hats being thrown at him because it aint gon be easy replacing a guy like sanchez. All i know is this dude has to start winning. and winning now! Good Luck on a hard season

  • got2go

    The new coach is in a no-win situation. If he wins, people will say that it was Sanchez’s program that he won with and if he loses, they’ll say he isn’t as good as Sanchez. Yes Sanchez was a good coach, but he was never at Cal High for the long run. He was just establishing himself until a better offer came along and one did and he took it. No shame in taking a better offer in your career, most of us would do it too.

  • Gentlemen:
    Ye have little faith.The Cal program is in good hands.
    Sean Manuel is highly respected and will keep the continuity in place.

    Write this down: Some time in late November,around 9;30-10;00 p.m.Tony Sanchez will be on the field,in the locker room,perhaps coaching his new team,he will look to the north west,he will here a large roar emanating from Concord Ca. where his juniors and seniors, along with last years JV team (that beat an undefeated) De Le Salle team will be victorious and come home as EBAL champs.

    Coach Billeci will give credit to Tony,but will have establish himself as the right man for the job.
    See ya at the game

  • guru-black

    where’s chris martin playn next season? heard he’s no longer at o’dowd?

  • got2go

    @Grizznut, easy big fella. You do realize that the DLS varsity team that won NCS last year was very young and a lot of those players will be coming back right? It’s not like both JV teams just moved up to varsity and the same lineups will be playing each other again.

  • Got2go;
    You make a good point,but it was a convincing win ,leaving some doubt in the Spartans psyche.

    The Grizz will have motivation for the title ,the old coach, the new coach, and those who have written them off..plus they return some top notch players who lost by seven points to one of the best teams in the state..WE HAVE A DREAM.

  • NorCalSportsFan

    Cal High should be pretty good next season. I agree that there may be 2 D1A players (Davis a definite and maybe one other.

    Until the other programs train and exhibit the dedication of the DLS program, you might see one win every 10-15 years against a down Spartan team. I’ve followed most of the top programs in northern CA and none are close in terms of work ethic

    The EBAL is however second to none in the state on offense. Defense has alot to be desired. Offense won’t defeat the Spartans. Defense is the only way. Look at Palma and Clayton Valley a few years ago that came close. Defense kept them in the games.

    Cal, MV and Foothill will be shooting for #2…with none advancing to the state bowl. Even if you win a game in league against the Spartans, it will be almost impossible defeating them twice. Actually I think a defensive minded coach like Billeci is the best choice in this league. Hopefully the rest of the league will move up a level with the Spartans in the legue. It will take this to defeat them. The Spartans work out every day except for Sundays.

  • epcthree

    First, apologies in advance for the length of this post. I am attempting to respond to various points made here and am also not known for my brevity when writing 😉

    This has been an interesting thread to say the least.

    All of the speculation on what coaches applied and who didn’t get hired is just that; speculation. People are making an awful lot of assumptions about this and writing as if their assumptions are facts. Well, they are not facts; they are opinions and while everyone is entitled to them; I never quite understand the vitriol used to espouse them. As for Longero, Moreno, Bryan, Ron Thompson, and Walsh, no one here knows if they interviewed for the CHS coaching position or not. Did Coach Billeci “earn” his spot? Well, yes, he did. He has been coaching for some time and applied for the position. The people doing the hiring decided that he was the man for the job, be that parents, administration or whomever was ultimately in charge. Again, we don’t know who all applied. We don’t know if there were limitations on the opportunity as far as on-campus position availability or who was willing to accept the job given whatever limitations were there. We don’t know who was interviewed or offered the spot. Bottom-line is that this is all speculation and frankly, mostly unfair speculation at that.

    Calling Billeci an “average defensive mind” is also a bit unfair. First, unless someone posting here has sat down and discussed defensive theory with him, they are in no position to say one way or another. His teams at Logan gave up an average of 14 and 12 in the past two seasons. In my experience, that’s not bad.

    It’s been pointed out that hiring a young, inexperienced coach now is different than when CHS hired Sanchez several years ago (because of the recent success at CHS). I don’t disagree with that but I also don’t automatically believe that this is a bad hire. We won’t really be able to assess this for a couple of years.

    Some of you are dismissing the fact that this young man played at De La Salle and I believe that’s a mistake. He’s been a part of what is considered to be one of the best programs in the country. Unless he’s a complete dolt, I’m guessing he’s developed some thoughts about how things should be done in a successful program.

    Several folks have bemoaned the fact that the new coach won’t be on campus. I’m not sure if that is actually true. I’ve read nothing that says he will or won’t be an on campus coach. And for those arguing for Sean Manuel; from what I have been able to research, he is not on campus either. As for him being required to keep all of the assistant coaches at CHS; Coach Sanchez had three brothers as assistant coaches and several others who played with him at Granada or in college. With the exception on Manual and Hoefs, I’m guessing that most of the coaching staff will be moving on.

    For the posters commenting on other EBAL coaches; do you seriously believe that they are all giddy about this selection? My experience is that most coaches don’t concern themselves with other coaches until they have to get ready to play them. There was an interesting question about hiring untested, young coaches who turn out to be a great fit. I suppose the best thing to do would be to ask Coaches Ladoucer, Sweeney, Stockberger, Sira, etc. I know three of these men personally and can say with confidence that none of them would be so foolish as to “laugh his — off.” If there is a head coach anywhere doing that then I would submit that this is a coach who has better things to worry about.

    Some of the adult posters here really need to take a step back and realize that they are getting into arguments with kids. Is it really that vital to talk smack to a kid?

    To DonorNoMore – do you honestly base your charitable contributions based on the success or lack of success of a school’s athletic program? Do you have such a need to live through others? Sad.

    To KillerD – your attempts at humor are certainly part of your first amendment rights. That said, they do qualify as attempts only. And considering the audience involved here (kids who attend the schools involved) at best they could be called in poor taste. You ended up writing “For my last words on the new coaching hire of Bellici, its easy to poke at Cal for making this decision, but all in good play.” If I can paraphrase –I know I’m being a jerk, but I’m just teasing. I’m sure you realize that most people don’t enjoy being the butt of someone’s jokes. But you do it regardless as it makes you feel good somehow. Yes, I know you have every right to make your little jokes and you can (and I’m sure will) continue to do so. That said it seems to me that it doesn’t exactly qualify as what most people would consider optimal adult behavior.

    To Wynn – you had some questions and I believe most were answered by others posting here. I don’t think anyone knows yet who Billeci will bring in as OC/DC. I mentioned earlier about the existing staff and my belief that many will be moving on, especially given their personal ties to Coach Sanchez. It was your final question that took me aback a little bit. “… how long will Billeci have to Win the League Title?” This is high school football we are talking about here, not the NFL. I would hope that at any ANY high school, there would be no timeline to “win the league title”. Success is (and should) be measured differently at different levels of competition. To try to put an ultimatum on when a team wins a league title at the high school level is outrageous and should never be a qualification.

    To Silly Bears – is it really “catastrophic if Cal does not win big games and the title within a couple of years?” Again, this is HS football we are talking about here. The only catastrophe that can ever happen is a serious injury to a young athlete.

    To the Cal High Supporters (meaning the kids) – I’m reading an awful lot of talk on here. I know it’s fashion today to talk smack and go back and forth with your opponents. And in the end, it seems not to make a huge difference down the road. But I know that as a coach, I try to teach respect and humility to my players. Confidence is a great thing. Quiet confidence is even better.

    To Kiss the Ring – some interesting assertions (and sorry – they don’t qualify as “real facts”)

    1) Cal will not win as many games as they should this year.
    First, as I mentioned, this isn’t a “fact”. Second, strong arguments can be made that CHS did not win as many games as they should have last year. Some would argue that DLS did not win as many games as they should have last year. The “fact” is that most schools don’t win as many games as they “should” have. It’s a specious argument.

    2) The new coach is used to a couple of lightweights on the schedule.
    I have a feeling that the coach is aware of the level of talent in the EBAL. Why do you assume that he’s not aware of it, or unable to handle it? As many other posters have said; give the man a chance.

    3) Not as many kids will sign scholarships as they should.
    You read a post from a kid, who is part of the team, saying that up to 6 D1 kids are possible. From my discussions with Coach Sanchez after last season, I seriously doubt that number is accurate. You assume that the new coach “has 0 experience with recruiting and that few Logan kids signed.” While at Logan, Rashad Evans received offers from Cal, Georgia Tech, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah and Fresno State. I know that in my early coaching career that I was definitely involved in recruitment of my kids regardless of not being a head coach. Additionally, Coach Billeci played college ball himself. You claim he will “let recruiting slide to the back burner and with no real connections from past recruiting successes it will be a tough road.” Again, not a fact but rather your negative opinion. Remember he played for Bob Ladoucer. That connection alone puts him in touch with every college in the country.

    4) If the community that surrounds Cal is so full of great athletes, if the youth program is top notch, and the high school program is loaded with Div 1 kids….how come Cal NEVER won before Tony?
    First off, although indeed rare, there were a couple of successful seasons. That said, there are a number of reasons why CHS lost more often than not. One you actually cited; Coach Sanchez was the real deal. At first CHS was a small school in a big league. When the HS first played varsity, the enrollment was around 600. The next smallest school was Dublin who was at about 1,200 at the time. This made it difficult for CHS to win, and additionally (I believe this to be just as important) actually set the precedent for not winning. As I mentioned, there were a couple of bright spots through the years, but they were far and few between. As time moved on and the enrollment at CHS came more in line with the rest of the league, they were naturally a little more successful. But they still have to rid themselves of the losing mentality. That is where Coach Sanchez made his biggest impact. If Coach Belleci can continue on this path, he will be successful. If he doesn’t, then he will not – it’s as simple as that.

    To BerryMadBear: You wrote that the “Best dissertation I heard about this Cal blow up was at dinner and a lot of drinks last night with veteran EBAL parents at Cal.” I have no doubt that lots of drinks were involved. As a veteran HS Coach with league and state championships under his belt, I will offer MY comments regarding your hypothetical choosing of the “best” coach:

    Bryan – No way. He is the biggest self promoter I have ever had the displeasure to meet. His only real concern is to become famous for the A-11 offense.

    Moreno –He’s been a bit of a job hopper and has left at least one job under less than optimum circumstances. I’m not certain that he has his kids’ best interest at heart.

    Longero/Wade/Walsh – Loads of respect for each of these coaches. That said, I don’t believe any of them applied for the spot.

    So from your list, all things being equal, Belleci would have been my 4th choice out of 7. But once again, CHS hired under whatever their limitations were from those that applied. Hardly a “stupid choice.”

    To Sportlover: Thank you for pointing out something that EVERY parent and student should remember – “… I learned just as much from my losing teams as I did from my winning teams.”

    To NorCalSportsFan: You are spot on with your comment – “Until the other programs train and exhibit the dedication of the DLS program, you might see one win every 10-15 years against a down Spartan team.”
    To me, the interesting thing to watch at DLS will be very similar to all this discussion. What effect will Coach Lad stepping down have on the program? It will be interesting to watch when that takes place in the next few years.

    As a coach myself I am always interested in people’s perceptions of what is important and what makes a good coach. There are an awful lot of folks who like to portray themselves as “experts” who have never actually coached at the HS level. It seems there is hardly a shortage of those folks on this thread. I’m hoping the CHS parents and kids give this young man a chance. Everyone deserves the chance to succeed or to fail on their own merits. No need to tear him down before he’s even been able to get started.

  • Xs and O

    How did Cal do in their 7-7 against Las Lomas?

  • Grizz’10

    Billeci is Cal’s OC. Everyone here is saying it will help the team having a defensive minded guy. But I think he might be a better offensive minded guy. He runs a high school offense well.

    A lot of people are not giving ANYBODY a chance on here. Its not all about who is the biggest or strongest. It helps to be but its more about if you really believe in yourselves. Cal High does not have 6 DIA players. But, thats not what its about. Its about the team and how well they play as one.

    The Cal High players are not trying to be cocky. They are just excited about this season. I’m just glad that there’s a lot of excitement about Cal High now. A few years back it would’ve never been like this. I hope everyone who has posted or read these comes and watches EBAL football this year. It will be exciting like every year.

  • KIss the Ring

    cal fan Says:
    April 30th, 2009 at 12:50 pm
    lol you guys have no idea..just watch when we hit that feild next year you guys are going to be suprised we will win the title next year we have tremedous leadership this year..no matter who the coach us players knw what we have to get done and we will get it done..all of you guys who are doubting us you guys are in for a rude wakening..all this talkin crap about us losing to granada and coming in 4th or 3rd..is bs this is going to be on one of the best seasons that we have had at cal..keep talkin your trash you will see what happens on the field

    thought it might be fun to revisit all of these posts after the 1-2 start by the team that according to some was destined to be league champs this year!

  • Minutemen

    KillerD sounds like the loud mouth Brian Hamilton at Concord HS. Always running his mouth. Prideful and arrogant…complete shi* sandwich.