De La Salle lacrosse: Jonathan Christmas takes over for Bob O’Meara

De La Salle lacrosse will be led by Jonathan Christmas starting this season, the first without program founder Bob O’Meara.

Christmas comes to Concord with a decorated prep and collegiate career in lacrosse. He was a three-time All-American with Lower Merion (Penn.) High and two-time All-American at University of Virginia, where he majored in sociology and started on the 2003 team that captured the NCAA championship.

“I am extremely excited to be part of a great academic and athletic high school,” Christmas said in a news release sent by the school. “The culture here will truly help continue the tradition academic and athletic excellence.”

That’s music to the ears of Brother Robert Wickman, principal of De La Salle.

“I am particularly taken with the ways in which he uses lacrosse as a means to build character and sportsmanship among the student-athletes he has developed,” Wickman said in the release. “I welcome him to the De La Salle community.  I thank Coach O’Meara for his many years of dedicated service to our boys.”

O’Meara brought lacrosse to De La Salle in 2001 as a club team and has overseen the now-varsity program’s eight North Coast Section championship game appearances and four titles (2007, ’09, ’10, ’14). His overall record was 222-79.

“We want to thank Bob for his long service as coach and for building an excellent program,” De La Salle athletic director Leo Lopoz said in the release. “We are blessed to move into the next Spartan lacrosse era with Coach Christmas. His passion for the game and focus on developing student athletes both on and off the field of play will benefit our community in many ways.”


Piedmont’s Bryan resigns as football coach

UPDATE: 9:15 a.m. on Jan. 12: Bryan is en route to a 10 a.m. meeting with executives who have arrived from the Southeast regarding his “amazing football opportunity.”

Piedmont High football coach Kurt Bryan, the co-creator of the A-11 Offense the Highlanders have utilized since 2007, announced his resignation Tuesday evening in a meeting with his players.
Bryan said he’s in the process of finalizing an “amazing football opportunity,” but could not discuss the details.
“It’s always a melancholy feeling,” Bryan said of leaving Piedmont, his alma mater. “It’s been so much fun and a great opportunity to work with so many great people and student-athletes.”
Bryan was the head coach at Piedmont from 1993-96 and again from 2006-10 and went 52-43-1 during his tenure. He and offensive coordinator Steve Humphries invented the A-11 Offense in 2007 that allowed all 11 players on the field to be potentially eligible to catch a pass.
The offense was used across the country and Bryan and Humphries were involved in the writing of several manuals diagramming the offense. A rule change in 2009 altered the offense by requiring at least four players to wear Nos. 50-79, which make them ineligible to catch a forward pass.


Goree takes over for Oakland’s final three games

We were having problems with the blog last night so I couldn’t get this posted. — JD

Jayce Goree will take over as the Oakland High head football coach for the remainder of the season, replacing Nelson Gifford, who was fired on Wednesday.
Oakland principal Alicia Romero said Monday she could not legally discuss the reasons for Gifford’s dismissal, but said, “I believe strongly that it was in the best interest of the kids. I want to have a good program for my students and it just wasn’t working out.”
The Wildcats (0-7, 0-2 Oakland Athletic League) play Saturday against Fremont (3-4, 1-1) at Curt Flood Field at 1 p.m. Oakland forfeited last week’s game to Castlemont after Gifford was dismissed because the team had not practiced all week.
“I felt that I wanted them to get back on track,” Romero said. “I always worry that when kids don’t have sufficient practice, that kids are going to get hurt. I felt that it was emotional for all of us when you have this surprising thing happen.”
Goree has been on the Oakland coaching staff the past two seasons and was a quarterback for the Wildcats when they won their last Silver Bowl in 1993. A decision on a new full-time coach will come after the season.


Longtime Castlemont coach takes Pittsburg job

Matthew Lane, who guided Castlemont High’s girls basketball team to the Oakland Athletic League playoffs in each of his 19 years as head coach, is leaving the school for the same position at Pittsburg.
His brother, Gilbert Lane, will step into the Castlemont job after after a long stint as the program’s junior varsity coach.
“It was time for a change,” Matthew Lane said. “I’ve been there 19 years, and I felt really good about leaving it in my brother’s hands.”
A Pittsburg resident, Lane cited the school’s proximity to his home as another factor in his decision.
Lane’s Castlemont teams reached the Northern California Regional playoffs 14 times. They advanced as far as the semifinals twice — in 1996 and 2007.