Joe Davidson

'It's on again!' Why an area basketball coach with state success took a new challenge

Foothill High boys basketball coach Drew Hibbs looks in dismay during the 2011 Father Kelly tournament at Jesuit High. Hibbs is leaving Foothill to coach at Woodcreek.
Foothill High boys basketball coach Drew Hibbs looks in dismay during the 2011 Father Kelly tournament at Jesuit High. Hibbs is leaving Foothill to coach at Woodcreek. Sacramento Bee file

Drew Hibbs has every reason to stay out of coaching. A wife. Twin 5-year-old boys. A house that always includes a project (the garage won't organize itself).

But Hibbs also has every reason to jump back into the coaching fray, specifically because he misses it.

The only boys coach in Sac-Joaquin Section history to win two CIF State championships at the same school, Hibbs is leaving Foothill High after 27 years for a new challenge in Roseville at Woodcreek, which just two seasons ago was the top-ranked team in Northern California.

Hibbs craves competition, and he even gets into it as a physical education instructor — animated and involved. He taught at Foothill for 27 years and coached the Mustangs for 19 of them, leading them to the playoffs each time. He won 10 league championships and three section crowns. He also spent four seasons as the Sierra College men's coach.

Foothill's 1994 and 2003 teams won CIF State Division III championships. Hibbs stepped down following the 2015-16 season to throttle down, to help with baby boys Joe and Will, and he felt the time was right to turn the program over to one of his former players, Stephen Colton, who this past season led Foothill to its section-best 28th consecutive playoff showing.

"I have been to the mountaintop. Been there twice as a high school coach, and you want more," Hibbs said Thursday afternoon. "You taste it, the competitiveness of coaching, and you want to get to the top again, and you want a different group of kids to experience it.

"I like to see the growth of a team, the maturity, the development, so I'm excited."

Still, Hibbs will leave a place he's called home with mixed feelings.

He and wife Stacie live in Roseville, and Hibbs will teach on campus, adding to the allure of the school switch.

"It's going to be difficult to say goodbye, just the fact that I've been at one place for 27 years," Hibbs said. "I know what I'm getting into. Coaching really is a grind, all the summers, all the time spent. I'd been coaching so long that I didn't know what it was like to have time after the school day, to get work done at home, or the summer.

"I appreciated that the last few years, but I never lost the coaching bug."

Hibbs said the familiarity with retiring Woodcreek coach Paul Hayes adds to the "comfort of the move." They have known each other for nearly 30 years. Hayes stepped down to catch his breath but will remain on campus as a teacher.

Now Hibbs is ready to try and catch his again.

"I was walking around the Woodcreek campus (Wednesday), visiting with the kids, and I felt the energy," Hibbs said. "I thought, 'Wow! I'm signing onto this again. It's on again!'"

Said Woodcreek athletic director Lori Ann Donnell, "We were ecstatic to land Coach Hibbs! We’ve got a legend in Sacramento-area basketball stepping down and another one stepping right in. A coach of Hibbs' caliber does not come around often, so when we saw his application, we were obviously pleased. His résumé speaks for itself."

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