Joe Davidson

‘I can’t imagine doing any other job’: Franklin High’s Mike Cody wins statewide honor

Franklin High School athletic director Mike Cody shows off the award he won over the weekend at the California State Athletic Directors Association's annual banquet in Burlingame.
Franklin High School athletic director Mike Cody shows off the award he won over the weekend at the California State Athletic Directors Association's annual banquet in Burlingame. Courtesy of Mike Cody

Perhaps the most unsung people in high school sports are the people who make it all go: athletic directors.

The AD is often the one working the scoreboard, pushing a broom in between quarters at basketball games, scrambling to find umpires after rain-outs, hiring and firing coaches, sorting through mounds of paperwork and dealing with fundraisers and unrelenting parents.

And then there's Mike Cody, who does a whole lot of this as well as anyone in the business.

The Franklin High School athletic director was one of 12 across a state that includes 1,500 high schools who was recognized by the California State Athletic Directors Association as Athletic Director of the Year over the weekend. His plaque reads, in part, "In appreciation of your outstanding leadership and service to our student athletes."

The banquet, held in Burlingame, was the 50th CSADA State Conference.

Cody has supervised a Franklin athletic program that regularly sends more teams to the postseason, both girls and boys, than any other in the Elk Grove Unified School District – and often more than anyone in the entire 190-member Sac-Joaquin Section. Best known for wearing Franklin athletic garb and greeting all comers with a smile and handshake, including his duties as assistant baseball coach, Cody looked the part of accomplished AD in a black suit and school-colored purple tie.

"I'm very proud to receive this award," Cody said. "The job of an AD and high school coach is more demanding and under-appreciated than most people recognize. You have to have a supportive family and a great principal, a committed coaching staff to survive the grind. Luckily, I've had all three during my 10 years at Franklin. I can't imagine doing any other job or working at any other school."

Rivals split – Elk Grove remains No. 1 in The Bee's baseball rankings after splitting two games with No. 2 Franklin last week in Delta League action.

Elk Grove won 2-1 at Franklin on Thursday as Brian Freitas pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing one walk and striking out six. Kemett Brown and George Spithorst had RBIs for the Herd.

On Friday at Elk Grove, Franklin won 3-0 behind ace Evan Gibbons, who walked none and struck out 11 as he outdueled Jack Zalasky, who allowed no earned runs, walked one and struck out six.

Another Delta showdown – The Delta League will have another showdown week between ranked powers as No. 4 Davis takes on No. 5 Jesuit. The teams have won a combined 15 consecutive games. Tuesday's game is at Davis and Thursday's game is at Jesuit.

Davis' top hitters include Ryan Holgate (.356 average, 17 RBI), Sean Finerty (.341, 14) and Nick Vogt (.448. 14). For Jesuit, it's Troy Shields (.438, eight RBI), Dan Susac (.448) and Evan Panson (.360).

Former football coach mourned – The Galt sporting community is mourning the loss of beloved retired football coach and teacher Tom Veatch, who died last week.

Veatch coached under famed head coach Erv Hatzenbuhler of Galt High during the program hey day in the 1980s and then replaced him in the 1990s, making an equal impact as a teacher and mentor.

Tom Veatch watches players run drills at Galt High School in 1997. Veatch, a longtime football coach at the school, died last week. Laura Chun Sacramento Bee file

"He was a teacher who taught his students so much more than just English in his classroom," said Alex Zavala, who is heavily involved in the Galt Junior Warriors program and played for Veatch. "On The field, he was hard on his players because he cared about them. He lifted with us during workouts, and I mean lifted! Before games he would have this look in his eyes like he was ready to suit up with us.

"He didn't back down from nobody and that carried over to us, his players. He was a great coach, teacher and a friend to a lot of us. He use to tell us, 'The 3 most important things in life are family, education and football.' "

Said Whitney athletic director Jason Feuerbach, who played for Veatch, "He was a great coach, unbelievable teacher and influential man. He meant a lot to a lot of people. This has devastated me and a lot of people to learn of the news."

A celebration of life for Veatch will be held April 29 at 135 North Lincoln Way, Galt.

Sheldon revenge – Sheldon, The Bee's top-ranked softball team, avenged its lone local loss (3-2 to Elk Grove) with a 6-4 effort over the Thundering Herd. Juju Malana, Shea Moreno and Grace Owen each had two RBIs for the Huskies, and Owen earned the win. Angelica Cano drove in three runs for Elk Grove, ranked fifth.

Swimming coach honored – After leading Oak Ridge to a CIF State swimming team championship repeat last spring, Tim McCormick was named the 2018 California Coaches Association State Boys Coach of the Year.

The Bee's Top 20 baseball rankings

With last week's ranking in parentheses.

1. Elk Grove (1) 10-4-2

2. Franklin (2) 15-4

3. Rocklin (3) 13-4

4. Davis (5) 12-5

5. Jesuit (6) 9-6

6. Del Campo (7) 16-3-1

7. Woodcreek (12) 12-8

8. Oak Ridge (4) 10-8

9. Capital Christian (8) 17-3

10. Winters (9) 22-1

11. Yuba City (10) 16-4

12. Granite Bay (13) 11-9

13. Woodland (14) 13-4

14. Christian Brothers (17) 13-4

15. Lincoln (18) 17-3

16. Laguna Creek (15) 13-4

17. McClatchy (16) 11-7

18. El Dorado (-) 18-3

19. Rio Americano (-) 15-6

20. Bella Vista (-) 10-10

Dropped out: Cosumnes Oaks, El Camino, Ponderosa

The Bee's Top 20 softball rankings

With last week's ranking in parentheses.

1. Sheldon (1) 11-2

2. Granite Bay (2) 11-1

3. Casa Roble (3) 15-3

4. Del Campo (4) 12-2

5. Elk Grove (5) 13-4-1

6. Pleasant Grove (6) 10-5

7. Del Oro (7) 7-7-1

8. Oak Ridge (8) 12-4-1

9. Lincoln (9) 8-5

10. Pioneer (10) 12-1-1

11. Rocklin (12) 7-7

12. Woodcreek (13) 7-6

13. Whitney (14) 11-7-1

14. Christian Brothers (15) 10-3

15. Bella Vista (11) 13-5-1

16. Roseville (16) 12-6-1

17. Sutter (-) 16-1

18. Yuba City (17) 14-6

19. McClatchy (19) 9-3

20. Bear River (20) 6-6-1

Dropped out: Franklin