A week after the excitement of its girls basketball team playing for a CIF State Division I championship, the talk at Pleasant Grove High School was of change.
Bruce Belden, the Pleasant Grove department chair for special education, was named the school’s new athletic director effective June 1. He takes over for Jeff Caton, who said he enjoyed the job in his long tenure but became tired of the grind. Football coach Joe Cattolico, who started the program when Pleasant Grove opened in 2004, interviewed for the AD position and was disappointed that he didn’t get it. So he tendered his resignation Friday, leaving the Eagles with a significant void.
Cattolico led three Pleasant Grove teams to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title game, winning once, and he is the only area large-school coach to win at least one playoff game in each of the past seven seasons. Cattolico said he is not retiring from coaching and could end up on another school’s sideline this fall.
“It’s a tough deal, to be honest with you,” Cattolico said of not landing the AD gig. “I’m trying to put a positive face on it. Zero percent of my decision (to resign) had to do with the kids, or parents – but it was time.”
Cattolico stepped down following the 2012 season, citing a desire to spend more time with his family. He later rescinded his resignation when his father, Butch, a 250-game winner at Los Gatos before retiring, joined his son’s staff last fall.
More football – Del Oro will host the Honor Bowl to kick off the 2014 season on Aug. 29. The Golden Eagles, a CIF State Bowl team in 2013, will open against Hawaii powerhouse Kamehameha High, coached by former Dallas Cowboys tight end and Sacramento High coach Doug Cosbie. That 8 p.m. game will follow the Elk Grove-Damonte Ranch of Nevada contest at 5 p.m. On Aug. 30, the Honor Bowl will feature Clovis North against Reed of Nevada at 2 p.m., Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa against Churchill County of Nevada at 5 and Clayton Valley of Concord against Carson of Nevada at 8.
Optimist time – The prep basketball season comes to a close today at Center High in Antelope with the 37th Optimist All-Star girls and boys games, a charity event that spotlights graduating seniors. The girls game is at 4 p.m., followed immediately by the boys game.
Heading the South girls is Bee Player of the Year, Dalayna Sampton of Florin, and All-Metro players Ali Bettencourt and Jenn Hoffman of Oak Ridge, Ayanna Edwards, Simone Sheppard and Najah Queenland of Sacramento, Aaliyah Pena of Pleasant Grove, Jasmine Redmon of Monterey Trail and Haleigh Filer of Capital Christian. The South boys include All-Metro players Jalen Coates of Burbank and UC Iroegbu and Tyler Jennings of Capital Christian. The North boys inlude All-Metro players Danny Becker of Del Oro, Jeremee Churchill of Grant, Lake Lutes of Jesuit, Cameron Oliver of Grant, Vasilije Saraba of Del Campo and Mason Stuteville of Casa Roble. Oliver this week signed with Oregon State.
The full rosters can be found on Page C9.
Battenberg’s back – Terry Battenberg, one of the area’s most successful coaches who won basketball championships at five schools in five decades, is the new coach at Vista del Lago. Battenberg won league titles at Jesuit, El Dorado, Ponderosa, Union Mine and Capital Christian.
• Michael Gill is the new Laguna Creek boys basketball coach. He replaces Paul Casey, who retired after nearly 30 years of coaching in the Elk Grove Unified School District. Gill assisted Casey at Laguna Creek from 2009 to 2011.
• Cordova beat Antelope 11-1 on Friday to give coach Guy anderson his 900th career victory with the Lancers. Anderson has coached Cordova baseball since 1970 and led one of the area’s most dominant programs in the 1970s and ’80s, winning five section championships. Anderson says his current team is another championship contender.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.