Saying farewell in sports is never easy, and doing so was painful for area high school football coaches Dan Carmazzi, Matt Costa and Joe Volek.
The Bee’s 2016 Coach of the Year, Carmazzi last week retired – for good, he says – from coaching after four seasons at Christian Brothers and leading Jesuit from 1981 to 2011. He vows to spend more time with his wife of 42 years, Gloria, and to keep up with nine grandchildren, all living in the area.
Costa on Monday was emotional in telling the Kennedy administration on the Greenhaven campus of his decision to accept the Pleasant Grove post in Elk Grove. And earlier this winter, Volek teared up while telling his El Dorado players in Placerville that he was stepping away from the game, at least for a while, fatigued from the grind and longing to spend more time with wife Dina and family.
Another interesting football opening sure to stir up excitement is Capital Christian. Members of the existing staff, including 2016 interim coach Ron Gerringer, have expressed interest in landing the post on a permanent basis.
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As with coaching vacancies at any level, speculation and rumor run rampant. This includes Capital Christian’s interest in landing Del Oro’s Casey Taylor, who has won five Sac-Joaquin Section titles, two CIF NorCal crowns and one CIF State championship this decade. Taylor turned down the Capital Christian job five years ago.
Also linked to the Capital Christian job is Max Miller, the area’s all-time winningest coach, mostly from two tours at Cordova.
Capital Christian would only say that it wants to fill the position by the end of the month.
Costa has a sterling reputation for interacting with players and boosting programs. He assumed the Kennedy post in 2012 with the school mired in a 28-game losing streak. In 2015, Kennedy went 8-3 and reached the playoffs for just the third time since opening in 1967 and first time since 1990. Kennedy returned to the postseason this past season.
Pleasant Grove has enjoyed league and section championship success but tumbled to 0-10 last fall, though many of the games were competitive on a schedule that included playoff teams Cosumnes Oaks (7-0), Jesuit (35-20), Grant (21-20), and Davis (38-21).
“It’s hard to leave Kennedy,” Costa said. “I put in a lot of time and effort at Kennedy. I care about this school and those kids. But I’m also super-pumped about the task at hand at Pleasant Grove. It’s a great opportunity that I have to take.”
Said Pleasant Grove principal Hank Meyer: “We think (Costa) will be a great fit.”
Volek coached El Dorado for five seasons. In 2013, he led the Cougars to their first playoff appearance since 1987 and first winning season since 1998. El Dorado went 10-1 in 2014 and fielded four successive playoff teams.
“Talking to the team and telling them I’m stepping down, I choked up,” Volek said. “I will miss the young men, the practices and Friday nights. I will not miss the fundraising, the (irked) parents or being away from my beautiful bride all fall. I’m just tired.”
McDonald’s tabs local duo – Namiko Adams of West Campus and Jordan Cruz of McClatchy are the lone area girls among the 720 seniors across the country nominated for the 16th McDonald’s All-American game.
The game will be on ESPN2 on March 29 at Chicago’s United Center. The team selections will be announced Sunday. For the first time in years, no area senior was nominated for the 40th McDonald’s boys game.
Tourney showcases top girls teams – Four ranked girls teams are in the St. Mary’s Martin Luther King Showcase in Stockton. On Saturday, No. 3 Oak Ridge plays Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach at 5:30 p.m., No. 6 West Campus plays Keppel of Alhambra at 10 a.m. and No. 12 Rio Linda faces South Medford of Oregon at 8:30 p.m.
On Monday, top-ranked McClatchy plays Modesto Christian at 7 p.m. The event also includes national powers St. Mary’s, the host school; Mitty of San Jose; Salesian of Richmond; Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa; and Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland.
Beating up on the Bay – Area boys teams impressed against longtime Bay Area powers in the final three games of the 15th Father Kelly Tribute at Jesui. Proceeds went to Jenna & Patrick’s Foundation of Hope for Cystinosis research.
Top-ranked Sheldon beat Monte Vista of Danville 65-34, No. 3 Folsom defeated Newark Memorial 68-54, and No. 6 Jesuit downed El Cerrito 85-51.
Sheldon visits Jesuit on Friday in a Delta League contest. No. 2 Woodcreek plays Del Oro on Friday in the Sierra Foothill League. Del Oro fell to Folsom 67-66 in double overtime on Friday .
The Bee’s Top 20
(With previous ranking; records through Saturday)
1. Sheldon (1) 11-1
2. Woodcreek (2) 15-2
3. Folsom (3) 14-3
4. Burbank (4) 11-2
5. Jesuit (6) 8-5
6. Capital Christian (5) 6-7
7. Vista del Lago (9) 11-4
8. Placer (8) 15-2
9. Grant (15) 10-4
10. Christian Brothers (9) 8-5
11. Kennedy (14) 7-5
12. Sacramento (12) 5-6
13. Rio Linda (11) 14-2
14. Whitney (12) 9-3
15. Cosumnes Oaks (18) 9-3
16. Granite Bay (13) 9-5
17. Del Oro (-) 10-5
18. Franklin (19) 9-5
19. Antelope (16) 8-5
20. Yuba City (-) 10-6
1. McClatchy (1) 9-2
2. Sacramento (2) 6-6
3. Oak Ridge (3) 9-7
4. Elk Grove (5) 10-3
5. St. Francis (9) 7-6
6. West Campus (6) 8-3
7. Folsom (4) 14-3
8. Antelope (7) 6-3
9. Del Oro (8) 13-4
10. River City (18) 11-6
11. Monterey Trail (19) 11-1
12. Rio Linda (10) 11-4
13. Roseville (11) 8-5
14. Capital Christian (12) 9-5
15. Foothill (-) 15-1
16. Woodcreek (-) 10-6
17. Rocklin (13) 9-7
18. Whitney (14) 9-4
19. Davis (16) 7-5
20. Colfax (20) 13-4