Gifford hired as Oakland football coach

Oakland High hired former Laney College assistant Nelson Gifford as its new football coach Wednesday.
“I’m just so grateful for the opportunity,” Gifford said.
Gifford spent the past four years as an assistant at Laney, working as a running backs coach and also working with special teams and strength and conditioning. He previously was a volunteer assistant at Cal and an undergrad assistant at UC Davis.
Oakland athletic director Carlos Sutton said he hopes to bring Gifford aboard as an on-campus coach.
Gifford, who played football at Palo Alto High and graduated in 1999, is excited about the Wildcats’ promise.
“I’ve seen a huge amount of potential,” Gifford said. “They have the capacity to learn and grow and put in the hard work.”


Hoops chat tomorrow at 4 p.m.

Hey everyone. Chace and I will hold our weekly chat tomorrow at 4 p.m. We’ll preview this weekend’s NorCal championship games, and maybe even sprinkle in some early-season baseball and softball talk. Should be a quality hour. See ya then.


Lawson signs with Cal

St. Mary’s Taylor Lawson signed a letter of intent with Cal last week to run track for the university.

Lawson is an accomplished three-sport athlete at St. Mary’s High in cross country, basketball and track, but she decided by the end of last summer to focus on track collegiately.

“I gave it a lot of thought. I just figured that would be where I had the most upswing … and could be the most competitive in,” said Lawson today.

“Cal just kind of came in and I visited and they had everything I was looking for … a program that I thought that I could fit in well and I thought I could be successful in, as well as a good school, and a nice location.”

Lawson won the North Coast Section Meet of Champions 300 low hurdles title as a sophomore and was second in that race last year, but said Cal is looking at her more as a 400/800 meter runner.

She also considered UC Davis, University of Colorado and Sacramento State before choosing the Bears.


NorCal Bracket Challenge — semifinals

No change among the top three in the standings as we head into next week’s NorCal championship games. I’ve added Champions Alive to our leaderboard to show how many predicted champions each person still has alive. Multiply that number by eight and you’ll be able to figure out what your maximum score is.

Also, a little programming note. After next week’s championship games, everyone will be able to select the champion for each state title game. Your slate will be wiped clean and you’ll be able to pick each game, regardless of if you correctly selected the NorCal champion in that division. I’ll be taking your picks for each state championship game via the comment section with a deadline of 2 p.m. on Friday, March 26.
Continue Reading


Queen of the Mountain cancelled

Well, a few hours ago Queen of the Mountain tournament organizer John Vasquez was hopeful they’d get to play the rest of the tournament tomorrow. Now, it appears the fields will still be too wet to play, and the remainder of one of the best early-season softball tournaments in Northern California has been cancelled, effective tonight.

What that means is more than a few teams will have some openings in their schedules from here on out. It’s always a really well run tournament, so it’s a shame that they had to cancel the rest of the tourney. The season continues next week, with some leagues even starting play.