Saint Mary’s High hires Chris Toler as girls basketball coach

Saint Mary’s High has hired Chris Toler as its varsity girls basketball coach, athletic director Greg Kelly confirmed Friday.

Toler was an assistant for Panthers boys basketball this past two seasons, a boys head coach at Rodriguez-Fairfield in 2012 and an assistant with the Napa Valley College women’s team in between.

“I got presented with this opportunity, thought about it for a brief moment and kind of jumped at it,” Toler said of taking the Saint Mary’s girls gig. “They have a great program, have a great tradition — hopefully we can continue that and keep it going. I know they’re a talented bunch.”

Saint Mary’s went 18-14 and reached the North Coast Section Division 4 semifinals under interim coach Samuel Sims, whose time as an assistant under previous coach Nate Fripp included all five of the programs’ NCS titles.

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Livermore hires Ryan Partridge as head football coach

Jim Harbaugh’s staff inspired Ryan Partridge to hunt for a high school head football coaching job, a mission he completed when Livermore hired him for that role in mid-March.

Partridge’s cousin Chris, Michigan’s linebackers and special teams coach, has invited Ryan to the Wolverine facilities in Ann Arbor numerous times, the new Cowboys coach said.

“I had dinner with Jay Harbaugh, Jim’s son, and my cousin Chris. They heard me talking football and my passion, and they just pushed me and pushed me to apply for head coaching positions,” Partridge said. “That was a huge part of me deciding to do that.”

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Joe Bautista to return as College Park football coach

College Park removed the interim tag for head football coach Joe Bautista, Falcons athletic director Lance Hurtado confirmed Monday.

Bautista started last season as an assistant coach and stepped to the helm after College Park fired first-year head coach Joe Tenorio in late September. Bautista had previously been an assistant under longtime head coach Bill Kepler, who retired in 2014 but returned in September to help Bautista.

“He’s an alumni, he’s been there for years, he coached as an assistant — so I think it’ll be good,” Hurtado said of Bautista staying on as head coach. “He got us to the end of last season, stepped up and filled the role for us.”

The Falcons opened last season 0-4 before Tenario was let go and went 2-4 the rest of the way, with wins over Ygnacio Valley and Mt. Diablo.

Bautista, who was not immediately available for comment, is a P.E. teacher on-campus.

“That’s definitely a plus,” Hurtado said. “Having that presence on the campus is huge.”


Danny Jones becomes head football coach at alma mater Amador Valley

Danny Jones was named head coach of the Amador Valley football team in late February, taking over a program he played in from 2000-04 and has coached for the last five seasons.

Of coaching his alma mater, which went 8-4 and reached the North Coast Section Division 1 playoffs last season, Jones said, “It’s really cool. There are still a lot of the same teachers that were there when I went there. It’s a different dynamic, but you can’t ask for a better situation.”

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UPDATED AGAIN: Bill Powers takes over Monte Vista girls basketball after Ron Hirschman retires

The résumés of Monte Vista girls basketball’s recently-retired coach and newly-named coach are remarkably similar. The two men are also well-acquainted.

Both Ron Hirschman and Bill Powers have twice helmed hoops teams to North Coast Section titles, including when both did so in 2009 — the latter with the Mustangs’ boys basketball team.

Hirschman resigned from the girls post after the season and former boys coach Powers was hired Friday to assume the role, Monte Vista athletic director Andy Popper confirmed Monday.

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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.