San Ramon Valley AD John Raynor to step down

San Ramon Valley athletic director John Raynor talked with me Tuesday about his decision to step down from that role after this school year.

“There were a lot of emotions connected with it,” said Raynor, 61. “I’ve had a joyous career in athletics, and it’s time to move on.”

Raynor has spent 40 years in education, 29 at San Ramon Valley, and coached the Wolves’ boys basketball team for 27 seasons until 2014. He’s been the school’s AD since 1988, a span that included 46 North Coast Section titles — including five by teams he coached.

“We’ve got a fairly decorated gym with a lot of championships, at the league level and the NCS level, some at the state level,” Raynor said. “That speaks volumes to the wonderful student-athletes that San Ramon Valley is blessed with and the tremendous coaching staff.”

Among the players he coached are Randy Winn, whose 13 seasons in Major League Baseball included six with the Giants, and Mark Madsen, a two-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Coach Raynor’s the best,” Madsen told this newspaper at Raynor’s 2010 induction ceremony into the Tri-Valley Sports Hall of Fame. “He’s not only a great coach — I truly believe Coach Raynor is one of the best coaches in the world — but he’s also a truly world-class human being.”

Raynor will take what he called “a reduced workload” with the school district next year.

“Being involved in athletics and coaching comes with a tremendous amount of time and effort, and I think it’s a lifestyle that one adopts,” he said. “With the support of my wife (Janet) over all these years … she’s afforded me the opportunity to have this lifestyle. We just took a step back, getting closer toward retirement.”

His new direction is in discussion, he said.

“San Ramon Valley Unified School District has been my home,” he said. “I’ve raised family out here with my wife and we’ve enjoyed the way in which I’ve been treated for the length of my career.”


Foothill boys golf breaks school record with 11-under

For all the success the Foothill High boys golf program has had, this year’s Falcons squad found a way to genuinely impress coach Bill Hayes.

Foothill shot 11 under par as a team at Callippe Preserve Golf Course on Wednesday to smash a school record Hayes figured would stand for some time.

“Two years ago we did 8-under. I thought I‘d never see that again. But 11-under…. I really did not see that coming,” Hayes said. “In 40 plus years, I’ve never had a team do something like this. I haven’t heard of anything in our area. It was absolutely ridiculous, and it was wonderful obviously.”

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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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Sabrina Ionescu named MaxPreps’ national girls hoops player of the year

Miramonte High guard Sabrina Ionescu (20) makes a three point basket in the fourth period of their California Interscholastic Federation NorCal Open Division girls basketball championship game against Pinewood High at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif., on Saturday, March 19, 2016. Miramonte High went on to win the game 73-40. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

Miramonte High senior Sabrina Ionescu makes a basket in the CIF Open Division NorCal title game at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento on March 19, 2016.  (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

Miramonte senior Sabrina Ionescu was named national girls basketball player of the year by MaxPreps on Monday, the first such honoree from the Bay Area.

The Mats star just keeps racking up awards for her senior season, including MVP of the McDonald’s All-American game for her record 25 points and East Bay Player of the Year for leading Miramonte to the CIF Open Division title game. She was also MVP of the Diablo Foothill Athletic League for the third straight season as the Matadors went 32-1, only falling in the state final.

Ionescu is set to play in the Jordan Brand Classic on April 15 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Like in the McDonald’s game, she’ll be the only participant who hasn’t decided on a college destination. Her top three possibilities remain Cal, Oregon and Oregon State, she confirmed to MaxPreps.


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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Reaction to NCS Open Division, competitive equity changes

Today the North Coast Section Board of Managers voted in a four-team Open Division football playoff plan, and a competitive equity plan that moves some successful teams up a division in football, basketball, girls volleyball, water polo, baseball, softball and lacrosse. Read about it here.

Coaches are still absorbing what the changes will mean when they go into effect this fall. Here’s an early sampling of reaction from East Bay coaches:

Compiled by Phil Jensen and Daniel Mano

Campolindo football coach Kevin Macy:
(on competitive equity) “The variables that are thrown into this mix … I just want to stick to school size. … Who is the arbiter of competitive equity? I’m not a big believer in this. …. We are just fighting to keep football alive in our town. Our name has become much bigger than our kids.”

Clayton Valley Charter football coach Tim Murphy:
(On the Open Division) “Fired up about it. … I think everything that went down in the meeting is what I agree with. … The only negative thing is that a team that wins a section could be eliminated. … Now you are not allowing people to control their own destiny. That would be my only complaint. Everything else I agree with. Continue Reading


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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