Joe Davidson

Winning never ages: Coaches hitting victory milestones within the Sac-Joaquin Section

Coach Terry Stark at Inderkum High School in 2017.
Coach Terry Stark at Inderkum High School in 2017.

Terry Stark is a bit more spry, thanks to a surgically repaired shoulder from quarterback wear and tear dating back some 40 years.

He can handle a golf club without wincing, though his shoulder makes sickly sounds like someone walking across crunchy leaves. And he can raise both arms triumphantly to celebrate touchdowns without an ounce of discomfort.

Stark is Inderkum High School’s longtime football coach, a milestone winner who achieves by connecting with and mentoring his players – equal parts discipline and love – and by relying on the timeless basic fundamentals of the game.

Run it, defend it, compete, repeat.

Ranked third by The Bee, Inderkum is off to a 5-0 start. Friday’s 70-0 steamroll job of Burbank was the 225th win of Stark’s career.

Other big wins this season include 37-10 over No. 5 Del Oro and 34-32 over No. 7 Elk Grove. The Burbank conquest also marked Inderkum’s 102nd victory this decade with 18 defeats, ranking second in the Sac-Joaquin Section during that stretch to Folsom’s 130-11 run.

Long live Coach Stark, the wing-T, staying power and good health.

“I can swing a golf club for the first time in 15 years, and I just shot a basket for the first time in 15 years,” Stark said with a laugh. “Made a free throw in P.E. Feeling good.”

Stark’s best act is coaching. He said football is rooted in constants. One must have decent roster numbers, good players and assistants to succeed.

“There’s never a goal to see how many wins you can get, but when you do it as long as I have, the wins pile up,” Stark said. “All I’m doing is teaching P.E., coaching football, building teams and a program. It’s still fun. And you’ve got to be healthy and you’ve got to be lucky for it all to work.”

The other section top winners in total victories this decade include Oakdale (108-26), Central Catholic of Modesto (104-25), Del Oro (98-32), Manteca (94-28) and Placer (92-27). That collective haul is reflective of large-school success with Folsom, medium-sized schools with Del Oro, Manteca, Oakdale and Placer and a small school playing large in Central Catholic.

Stout staying power

If the mark of a great program is staying power, try these totals for size.

Grant and coach Mike Alberghini led the Sacramento region in victories in the 1990s with 96 (he became the Pacers’ head coach in 1991) and the 2000s with 107. Cordova, under coach Max Miller, led the region in victories in the 1980s with 97, and those same Lancers under Dewey Guerra and Ron Lancaster led the area with wins in the 1970s with 106 (The playoffs did not start until 1976).

Only Alberghini is still active among this lot. Per his humble nature, Alberghini won his ongoing area-record 280th career game on Sept. 13, and no one knew about it. Coach Al has never been in this grind for victory totals. He’s in it to shape young lives, though winning does offer nice perks such as proof of the work put in.

Alberghini is two wins shy of tying the section mark with retired Mark Loureiro of Escalon.

The state leader in wins is Bob Ladouceuer, who went 399-24-3 at De La Salle from 1979-2012. He had no losing seasons, nine one-point losses and produced 12 consecutive perfect seasons at one point.

Club 200

Oakdale coach Trent Merzon is the latest to join the section’s 200-win club, doing so at his alma mater. He grew up eager to play for the Mustangs.

Other 200-game winners within this section:

282 - Mark Loureiro, Escalon (retired)

280 - Mike Alberghini, Grant (active)

264 - Max Miller, Cordova/Rio Americano/Johnson (retired)

255 - Dan Carmazzi, Jesuit/Christian Brothers (retired)

251 - Terry Logue, Bear River (active)

248 - Frank Negri, Foothill/Natomas (now a Rio Linda assistant)

246 - Roger Canepa, Central Catholic/Sonora/Calaveras (active)

225 - Terry Stark, Mira Loma/Inderkum (active)

224 - Wayne Schneider, Tracy (retired)

217 - Tony Martello, Colfax (active)

215 - Tom Zunino, Vacaville (rest in peace, good man)

211 - Ed Lombardi, Elk Grove/Sheldon (retired)

204 - Dave Humphers, Nevada Union/River Valley (active)

204 - Mike Glines, Central Catholic (retired)

204 - Trent Merzon, Oakdale (active)

Joe Davidson has covered sports for The Sacramento Bee since 1988 and is award-winning authority on high school sports, specializing in going behind the scenes. Davidson was a high school athlete in Oregon, where he participated in football and track.