MISSION VIEJO'S JOHNSON STATE COACH OF YEAR

It took only three seasons for the Mission Viejo High football program to go from a 1-9 record to 14-0. That kind of turnaround might be reason enough to name Bob Johnson the CalHiSports.com State Coach of the Year. But Johnson has built a dominant program before, in the 1980s, when he guided nearby El Toro High to CIF Southern Section titles in 1982, 1986 and 1987. His 14-0 El Toro team in 1986 also was ranked No. 1 in the state overall.

As CalHiSports.com State Coach of the Year, Johnson will now be included on an all-time honor list that dates back more than 100 years and includes the names of some true giants from the California football coaching ranks. The list is printed in each edition of the CalHiSports State Record Book and Almanac.

In addition to Johnson, also gaining state coach of the year recognition this week are Butch Cattolico of Los Gatos (medium schools) and Dan Finfrock from Arrowhead Christian of Redlands (small schools).

This year's team at Mission Viejo began its trek toward an eventual No. 3 state ranking with a 28-14 victory over Mater Dei of Santa Ana in week two. There was one scare in the South Coast League, a 21-18 win over San Clemente, but the rest of the season consisted of one impressive win after another. It all led up to Mission Viejo matching up with also unbeaten Chino in the CIFSS Div. II final. The Diablos won, 18-9, and Johnson's turnaround of the program was complete.

"This is so sweet for these kids," Johnson said after the game against Chino. "They saw how electrifying being a part of something like this can be. There was never a doubt we'd win this football game and they had all the confidence that they could be 14-0 this season."

Following the 1990 season, Johnson took a hiatus from coaching after leading El Toro for 12 years. He made the move to spend more time watching his sons play in college, Bret at UCLA and Rob at USC. In recent years, Johnson has been able to watch Rob play for the Buffalo Bills.

Johnson also is highly-respected around the nation as a quarterback coach. He regularly works with college quarterbacks preparing for the NFL draft and has personally tutored several of the best quarterbacks in Southern California in recent years, including Steve Stenstrom (Stanford) and Carson Palmer (USC). In the summer, Johnson runs the nationally-recognized Student Sports Elite 11 Quarterback Camp and in the spring he stays busy running the quarterback drills at all 12 Nike Football Camps held at various colleges throughout the country.

The Student Sports Elite 11 Quarterback Camp attracts 12 of the best high schoolers from around the nation plus college standouts who serve as camp counselors. Last year's counselors were David Carr (Fresno State), Kurt Kittner (Illinois), Rohan Davey (LSU), Jonathan Smith (Oregon State), Carson Palmer (USC) and J.T. O'Sullivan (UC Davis).

Johnson's staff of assistants includes his son, Bret, as offensive coordinator. His line coach, Marty Spalding, also is known as one of the best in the country due to his work running the line drills at all 12 of the Nike Football Camps. Johnson's other assistants are Marty Mikkelsen, Scott Miller (a former receiver with the Miami Dolphins), George Tuioti, Steve Sherman and Bob Bosanko.

Note: Johnson does have a working relationship with Student Sports Inc. (parent company of Cal-Hi Sports) as he helps run the Nike Football Camp tour and Elite 11 Quarterback Camp, but the facts still point to him being chosen for this year:

1. Every effort is made to only choose someone State Coach of the Year once. De La Salle's Bob Ladouceur and Hart's Mike Herrington are already on the all-time list.

2. Continuing with this year's top-ranked teams, Long Beach Poly had the State Coach of the Year last season in Jerry Jaso.

3. Mission Viejo not only went 14-0, but will finish ranked among the top 25 in the nation.

4. All State Coach of the Year candidates need to have some longevity in their careers. Johnson's previous 12 years at El Toro fills that bill.

On the medium schools level, or for schools that were considered for the CalHiSports.com Div. III state rankings, Cattolico was a strong candidate for guiding Los Gatos to a 13-0 record for the second straight year. It's true Cattolico had the luxury of having Trent Edwards, one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, in his lineup, but Edwards didn't play defense and it was a 42-0 shutout that the Wildcats pasted on previously unbeaten San Lorenzo Valley in the CIF Central Coast Section Div. III final.

Cattolico has been the head coach at Los Gatos since 1986 and has posted a record of 157-35. He is one of just 11 coaches in state history with a winning percentage of 80 percent or higher with a minimum of 100 career wins.

From the small schools level, or for schools that were considered for the CalHiSports.com Div. IV or Div. V state rankings, Finfrock emerged as the honoree after directing Arrowhead Christian to the CIF Southern Section Div. XIII title. It was Arrowhead Christian's third title in six years and marked the fifth time in six years that the Eagles have played in the CIFSS finals. Finfrock's team in 1996 went 14-0 and was ranked No. 1 in the state for Div. V schools.

Here is the full list of State Coaches of the Year dating back to 1896:

STATE COACHES

OF THE YEAR

(All selected by Cal-Hi Sports; chosen after each season since 1979; chosen based on research by Cal-Hi Sports founder Nelson Tennis from 1986-1978)

2001 - Bob Johnson, Mission Viejo (14-0)

2000 - Jerry Jaso, Long Beach Poly (14-0)

1999 - Mike Herrington, Newhall Hart (14-0)

1998 - Randy Blankenship, Fresno Clovis West (12-1)

1997 - John Beam, Oakland Skyline (12-0)

1996 - Dave Silveira, Martinez Alhambra (13-0)

1995 - Larry Welsh, Atascadero (14-0)

1994 - Bruce Rollinson, Santa Ana Mater Dei (14-0)

1993 - John Barnes, Los Alamitos (14-0)

1992 - Mark Paredes, La Puente Bishop Amat (15-0)

1991 - Herb Meyer, Oceanside El Camino (13-1)

1990 - Pat Preston, Bakersfield (13-0)

1989 - Dick Bruich, Fontana (14-0)

1988 - Norm Dow, Morgan Hill Live Oak (11-0-1)

1987 - Bennie Edens, San Diego Pt. Loma (13-0)

1986 - Bob Ladouceur, Concord De La Salle (12-0)

1985 - Charlie Wedemeyer, Los Gatos (12-1)

1984 - Tim Simons, Clovis (12-0-1)

1983 - Ron Calcagno, Mtn. View St. Francis (13-0)

1982 - Wayne Schneider, Tracy (12-1)

1981 - Marijon Ancich, Santa Fe Springs St. Paul (14-0)

1980 - Bill Workman, Huntington Beach Edison (14-0)

1979 - Ron Lancaster, Rancho Cordova (13-0)

1978 - Jerry Deuker, Pinole Valley (11-1)

1977 - Chris Ferragamo, Wilmington Banning (11-1-1)

1976 - Benny Pierce, Saratoga (13-0)

1975 - Ed Lloyd, Santa Rosa Cardinal Newman (12-0)

1974 - Dick Haines, Vista (13-0)

1973 - Dwayne DeSpain, Hacienda Heights Los Altos (12-1)

1972 - Bob Hitchcock, Temple City (13-0)

1971 - Gene Vollnogle, Carson (12-0)

1970 - Jack Neumeier, Granada Hills (11-1)

1969 - Forrest Klein, Alameda (9-0)

1968 - Tom Burt, Los Altos (9-0)

1967 - Clare Van Hoorebeke, Anaheim (12-1)

1966 - Ernie Johnson, Pico Rivera El Rancho (13-0)

1965 - Dick Coury, Santa Ana Mater Dei(12-0-1)

1964 - John Hanna, San Jose Bellarmine (10-0)

1963 - Paul Briggs, Bakersfield (9-0)

1962 - Bob Berry, San Jose Willow Glen (9-0)

1961 - Joe Marvin, Redwood City Sequoia (10-0)

1960 - Sam Cathcart, Santa Barbara (11-1)

1959 - Dave Levy Long Beach Poly (11-0)

1958 - Paul Huebner, Wilmington Banning (11-0)

1957 - Johnny Johnson, Oroville (9-0)

1956 - Dick Hill, Downey (12-0-1)

1955 - Duane Maley, San Diego (11-0-1)

1954 - Aaron Wade, Compton Centennial (10-1-1)

1953 - Milt Axt, S.F. Poly (10-0)

1952 - Fred Moffett, Berkeley (9-0)

1951 - Hod Ray, Palo Alto (8-0)

1950 - Ernie Busch, Merced (11-0)

1949 - Bob Patterson, Vallejo (10-0)

1948 - Harry Edelson, L.A. Fremont (9-0-1)

1947 - Jim Sutherland, Santa Monica (12-0)

1946 - George Hobbs, Alhambra (12-0)

1945 - Colon Kilby, Vallejo (10-0)

1944 - Bert LaBrucherie, Los Angeles (7-0)

1943 - Larry Siemering, Stockton (10-0)

1942 - Brick Johnson, Piedmont (7-0)

1941 - Roy Richert, Oakland Castlemont (5-0-1)

1940 - Clarence Schutte, Santa Barbara (9-1)

1939 - Palmer Muhl, Woodland (8-0)

1938 - Ras Johnson, S.F. Galileo (8-0-1)

1937 - Jim Blewett, L.A. Manual Arts (8-0)

1936 - Harlan Lee, Red Bluff (7-0-1)

1935 - Paul Hungerford, S.F. Poly (9-0)

1934 - Orian Landreth, Long Beach Poly (12-1)

1933 - Dick Arnett, Inglewood (8-2-1)

1932 - Harry Shipkey, Salinas (11-0)

1931 - Tex Oliver, Santa Ana (13-0)

1930 - John Price, La Verne Bonita (10-0)

1929 - Lourence Janssen, Sacramento (9-0)

1928 - Paul Perrin, Lodi (9-0)

1927 - Mike Voyne, S.F. Lowell (13-0)

1926 - Brick Mitchell, San Mateo (9-1-1)

1925 - Wallace Newman, Covina (12-1)

1924 - Jimmy Hole, Berkeley (11-0)

1923 - Dave Cox, S.F. Polytechnic (11-0)

1922 - Dwight "Goldie" Griffith, Bakersfield (10-0-1)

1921 - Thomas Kenney, Santa Clara Prep (7-0)

1920 - Freddie Rodgers, Salinas (5-0)

1919 - Ed Kienholz, Long Beach Poly (12-0)

1918 - Sid Foster, L.A. Manual Arts (9-0)

1917 - George Wihr, San Mateo (13-0-1) (Rugby)

1916 - Nibs Price, San Diego (12-0)

1915 - Duffy Seay, Pasadena (7-1)

1914 - Otto Fritsch, L.A. Manual Arts (10-2) (Rugby)

1913 - Clint Evans, Pomona (11-0) (Rugby)

1912 - C.S. Morris, Palo Alto (16-2) (Rugby)

1911 - Ralph Noble, Los Angeles (9-0) (Rugby)

1910 - Dan McAndrews, Alameda (5-0)

1909 - Coach Skinner, L.A. Polytechnic (8-0-2) (Rugby)

1908 - William Reid, Belmont Academy (8-0-1)

1907 - A.W. Sorenson, Los Angeles (5-1)

1906 - Chelton Hill, Woodland (5-0-1)

1905 - Frank Solinsky, Berkeley (5-1-3)

1904 - Charles Thomas, Woodland (4-0)

1903 - Fayette Birtch, Bakersfield (4-0-1)

1902 - Jim Lanagan, Belmont Academy (4-0-2)

1900 - W.E. Premo, Tulare (4-0)

1898 - George Spence, Los Angeles (8-0-2)

1896 - Oscar Taylor, Belmont Academy (4-0)


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