Around the region in a forward lean:
International gridiron flavor – It’s a long title, but in brief, it’s still football.
The International Federation of American Football Men’s World Championship in Canton, Ohio, features seven national teams of post-college players spanning five continents. The U.S. coach is Dan Hawkins, who cut his coaching teeth as an assistant at UC Davis and head coach at Christian Brothers High School before stops at Boise State and Colorado and a brief run in the Canadian Football League. The 10-day event aims to honor and celebrate the sport “through competition and cultural exchange,” according to the IFAF website.
People are very passionate about the sport internationally. You’d be surprised how much they know about football.
Dan Hawkins, U.S. coach at the International Federation of American Football Men’s World Championship
The U.S. team, 2-0 after beating Mexico 30-6 and Japan 43-18, plays France on Wednesday. U.S. quarterback Dylan Favre, the nephew of NFL great Brett Favre, has Hawkins’ son Cody as his position coach. Cody quarterbacked the Americans to the 2011 gold medal.
Football has taken Team Hawkins to South Africa, Peru, Sweden, Austria, Australia and Mexico, Cody told reporters after a recent workout. “We’ve been everywhere together, and it has been special,” Cody said.
Added Dan Hawkins: “People are very passionate about the sport internationally. You’d be surprised how much they know about football. There are a lot of guys that travel to the United States to play football and then come back to their home countries and teach everybody else.”
Williams bows out – John Williams, the longtime Sac-Joaquin Section assistant commissioner, has retired. Make that mostly retired.
Williams no longer will oversee regional high school sports – budgets, transfers, realignment meetings – but he has been named by his son Josh as the unofficial director of basketball operations for Liberty Ranch High.
This means Pops will attend games, sweep the gym floor, chart stats, hand out water bottles and bark at referees. Josh Williams was honored by Character Combine as the 2014-15 regional Coach of the Year.
Matulich memory – John Matulich, a basketball and baseball star at McClatchy in the late 1940s who played basketball for John Wooden at UCLA, died June 17 in Riverside. He was 84. Matulich grew close to Wooden and used the famed coach’s principles to help shape his career. Matulich coached basketball at Riverside College, where he also worked as a counselor and dean of admissions.
Werner honor – Bruce Werner, a fixture in Northern California regional athletics for decades, was inducted into the California Community College Athletic Association Hall of Fame. He was Cosumnes River College’s dean of athletics in 1977 and ’78 before moving to American River College, where he worked for 22 years, always championing athletics in the face of major budget cuts. Werner was vice president of instruction at Folsom Lake College from 2001 until his retirement in 2004.
New CRC coach – Devin Aye has been hired as Cosumnes River’s men’s basketball coach to replace James Giacomazzi, who accepted the same post at Las Positas College in Livermore. Aye elevated a Lassen College program that had won three games over a two-year span into a conference champion, reaching the playoffs the last three seasons. His father is Denny Aye, who has coached for 39 years, mostly in community college in California.
All-State baseball – Bee All-Metro infielders Hank LoForte of Franklin (headed to Cal State Fullerton this fall) and Nick Madrigal of Elk Grove (Oregon State) and outfielder Matt Smith of El Dorado (Sacramento State) made the Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team. LoForte and Madrigal were exceptional fielders and leadoff hitters. Smith led the state with 14 home runs.
Rapid improvement – Diondre Batson from Laguna Creek and ARC finally cracked the 10-second barrier in the 100-meter dash, a benchmark for sprinters. The former Alabama star clocked 9.85 seconds in a qualifying heat at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships last month in Eugene, Ore.
Son also rises – Trae Gould, the son of UCD football coach Ron Gould, is a player to watch at Oregon. A four-year starting cornerback for Marist High in Eugene, the 5-foot-8, 160-pound Gould had three interceptions last fall and earned second-team all-state honors.