Despite the loss of Pepperdine-bound guard Alicia Komaki, the 2002-03 Warriors broke down the state title door after knocking on it several times. They completed their mission on March 21 at ARCO Arena in Sacramento with a 53-40 victory over Vacaville in the Div. II final.
With the win, Kiernan improved his coaching record in seven seasons at Troy to a nifty 192-25. His teams have played in CIF Southern Section title games in five of the last six seasons even though Troy has been Div. I for some of that time.
Kiernan also has been adept at developing at least one major Div. I college prospect per season. Before Komaki in 2001, there was Veronica Johns-Richardson (Colorado). This year's big catch was 6-2 center Amanda Livington (UCLA). Next year, Meghan McGuire should continue the trend.
For that kind of program-building as well as for his team winning a state crown, Kiernan is the choice for Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year honors.
Kiernan's most impressive piece of coaching may have come in the CIF Southern Regional final when his star player, Livingston, was ruled to have fouled out when most of those at Long Beach Arena had her with four fouls, not five. The coach did not go into a frenzied rage (he was very critical of the situation once the game was over), but said later he knew he had to maintain control.
"You have to play through this kind of stuff in these types of games," Kiernan said. "For me to lose focus in that situation would not be a great way to handle it. The kids handled it well."
Kiernan says he didn't have to look far beyond the North Orange County campus of Troy to find a program that already had players who knew how to handle pressure.
"I've been coaching for 20 years in Orange County and have seen how Brea (Brea-Olinda) has done it," he said. "How they win under pressure was always what impressed me most about them. I've looked to them for ways of how to teach our players to handle it."
In addition to the overall statewide coaching honor, Kiernan also is the state coach of the year for the CIF enrollment division his team competed in. The list of the other four coaches of the year by division follows as well as our updated all-time state coach of the year list. Note: One of the criteria for our state coach of the year honors is to spread them around as much as possible.
STATE COACHES OF THE YEAR
(By CIF enrollment divisions)
Div. I -- Carl Buggs (Poly, Long Beach)
Jackrabbits went 29-4 and finished No. 4 in the final state rankings even though the top player from last year, Kameca Simmons, transferred to Lynwood.
Div. II -- Kevin Kiernan (Troy, Fullerton)
Named overall State Coach of the Year.
Div. III -- Brian Harrigan (Sacred Heart Cathedral, S.F.)
Young team made it to the state finals and for Harrigan it was his program's second appearance in the state finals in three years. SHC and Harrigan also won a state crown in 1998.
Div. IV -- George Quintero (Marlborough, Los Angeles)
It was a breakthrough season for Quintero's team, which made it all the way to the Div. IV SoCal region final and finished 26-6 overall.
Div. V -- Larry Minnich (Convent of the Sacred Heart, S.F.)
Longtime coach of the Cubs crafted a team that was super quick and overwhelmed opponents in the postseason.
Note: State championship coaches Ellis Barfield (Lynwood), Lisa Cooper (Bishop Montgomery) and Tom Gonsalves (St. Mary's) were all honored last season.
OF THE YEAR
(All-time list; compiled by Cal-Hi Sports founder Nelson Tennis based on research prior to 1980)
2003 — Kevin Kiernan, Fullerton Troy (31-2)
2002 — Lisa Cooper, Torrance Bishop Montgomery (28-5)
2001 — Dwayne Tubbs, Hanford (31-2)
2000 — James Anderson, Harbor City Narbonne (34-0)
1999 — Sue Phillips-Chargin, San Jose Mitty (31-0)
1998 — Jeff Sink, Brea Brea-Olinda (33-1)
1997 — Yvette Angel, Torrance Bishop Montgomery (29-3)
1996 — Mary Hauser, Santa Ana Mater Dei (29-3)
1995 — Scott Brown, Moraga Campolindo (32-3)
1994 — Mike Ciardella, Atherton Sacred Heart Prep (38-0)
1993 — Ellis Barfield, Lynwood (31-0)
1992 — Wendell Yoshida, RH Estates Peninsula (33-0)
1991 — Gene Nakamura, Berkeley (30-2)
1990 — Frank Scott, Inglewood Morningside (32-3)
1989 — Mark Trakh, Brea Brea-Olinda (31-2)
1988 — Richard Hull, Willows (26-4)
1987 — Lee Trepanier, San Diego Pt. Loma (34-0)
1986 — Van Girard, Lynwood (28-4)
1985 — Tom Campbell, Chico Pleasant Valley (28-0)
1984 — Joe Vaughan, Ventura Buena (31-0)
1983 — Larry Newman, Anderson (26-1)
1982 — Tom Pryor, Cerritos Gahr (29-5)
1981 — Art Webb, L.A. Locke (19-2)
1980 — Spike Hensley, Berkeley (29-0)
1979 — Harvey Green, Woodland Hills El Camino Real (19-0)
1978 — Joanne Kellog, Huntington Beach (25-2)
1977 — Tami Yasuda, Fair Oaks Bella Vista (30-1)
1976 — Chuck Shively, Ventura (23-0)
1975 — Janet Balsley, San Diego Pt. Loma (34-0)
1974 — No selection
1973 — Mary Brown, Fresno San Joaquin Memorial (12-0)
1972 — Judy Hartz, Ventura Buena (8-0)