Ron Nocetti is in this for the long haul.
He’s 51, looks younger and has the spirit and energy of a man half his age. And he’s just now getting started.
Nocetti grew up playing high school sports in San Francisco. He coached and then became athletic director at Jesuit High School in Carmichael before joining the California Interscholastic Federation in 2008. He was the director of CIF championship events, later promoted to CIF senior director and then CIF associate executive director.
Involved in education since 1991, Nocetti is now the boss for the governing body for high school sports, a monstrous yet rewarding task as this state has 1,606 schools and seemingly that many things going on — seasons, sports, transfer issues, budget concerns, etc.
Nocetti is the right man at the right time, fair and firm, respected and revered by peers. He listens to ideas from athletic directors and administrators. He implores student-athletes to maximize their experiences.
Nocetti officially takes over for the retiring Roger Blake in August.
“It’s exciting,” Nocetti said. “The timing of this hit me. I was offered this job during Teacher Appreciation Week, and I’ve had conversations and emails from those who taught and coached me, including my fourth-grade baseball coach.
“It gave me time to appreciate how many people played a role in this for me, and I hope student-athletes appreciate their teachers and coaches, too.”
The CIF has had a record amount of students participating in sports in recent years, more than 838,000, even if football numbers have taken a dip, largely due to concussion concerns.
The CIF state football championship games have been a hit since the inception in 2006, the CIF basketball finals are a fixture in Sacramento, now at Golden 1 Center, and there has been the addition of regional play in Northern and Southern California for soccer, tennis and water polo, and state competition for swimming.
Nocetti said competing in high school sports, or anything extra curricular on campus, can help mold young lives — memories, experiences and dealing with winning and losing with dignity.
“It’s more than what goes on in a game, because high school sports can help set you up for anything in life,” Nocetti said. “Going to college, a four-year or a JC, is important. I’m a JC product. Played two years of baseball at Canada College.”
Nocetti said he learned a great deal from Blake and Marie Ishida, whom Blake replaced.
“They were two different CIF leaders as far as style, but no one questioned their support and concern for student-athletes, and we’ll always be in good shape as long as we continue that,” Nocetti said.
Nocetti has four children, each deeply invested in athletics at one time or another.
The oldest, Keira, is a graduate of the University of San Diego. Mikaela, the one-time Bee Volleyball Player of the Year from El Camino, graduates next week from Sacramento State, where she played volleyball. Mikaela wants to get into teaching and coaching, making for one proud pop.
Youngest daughter Gianna is a water polo player and swimmer at Rio Americano. Son Dante is a seventh-grader at Arden Middle School, big into any sport he can get into.
The common theme for them? Involvement.
Nocetti and wife Deanne are closing in on their 28th anniversary. He points to her for the roots to “all the athletic genes.”
Deanne was a CIF San Diego Section volleyball Player of the Year. Nocetti met his bride-to-be at the University of San Francisco, where she played volleyball and he baseball.
“We were married by our college athletic director, Father Robert Sunderland,” Nocetti said with a laugh in reflection. “An AD who was a Jesuit priest. How many people can say that? Great times.”
And more to come.
Grant’s next great lineman prospect is Omarr Norman-Lott.
Last fall, the two-way prospect had 18 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. The junior has of late received scholarship offers from Arizona and Arizona State, USC, Kansas State, Oregon State, Colorado State and Boise State.
Might Daniyel Ngata join brother Joe at Clemson next year?
Daniyel, Folsom’s terrific junior running back with a complete-game skill set, has received a scholarship offer from national-champion Clemson, which landed receiver Joe Ngata last season.
Daniyel Ngata has offers from every name power in the land, including Alabama, Michigan, Washington, LSU, Notre Dame and Oklahoma. And yes, even Sacramento State has offered, as the coaches there, including Troy Taylor, Kris Richardson, Bobby Fresques, Sam Cole and Chris Parry, know him well from their Folsom coaching days.