Ed Azzam: Boys BB State Coach of Year

The mark of an outstanding coach is if you can direct two separate groups of players to a state championship. That's what Westchester High's Ed Azzam did by leading the Comets to the 1998 CIF Div. I title and the 2002 crown in the same division. Azzam's team this year also was among the best in the nation with wins over the top team in New York and the top two teams in Florida. Also click here for divisional coaches of the year.

For that kind of dominance, as well as excellence throughout a 22-year career, Azzam has been chosen Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year. He is the first CIF L.A City Section coach who's been picked for the statewide honor since Crenshaw's Willie West in 1989 and is the first from the South Bay region of Los Angeles County since Dick Acres of Carson in 1982.

Azzam's 1998 team, led by eventual USC standouts Brandon Granville and David Bluthenthal, won the Div. I state title with a 52-40 win over St. Joseph of Alameda. This year's squad, led by Arizona-bound Hassan Adams as well as Georgetown-bound Brandon Bowman, San Diego State-bound Brandon Heath and top-notch junior Trevor Ariza, captured the Div. I state title and wrapped up a 32-2 season with an 80-75 victory over Oakland Tech.

Azzam, who began his coaching career as an assistant at West Los Angeles College before taking over at Westchester as head coach for the 1980-81 season, improved his career record to 473-172 with the 2002 totals added on. It might be difficult with the loss of several strong seniors, but there's a chance he'll reach career win No. 500 next season. Next year's team also will be going for its fourth straight CIF L.A. City Section championship.

In addition to the overall state coaching honor, Azzam is one of five coaches who've been named as a State Coach of the Year for their CIF enrollment-based division. The complete coach of the year list as well as the all-time state list back to 1960 follows:

CAL-HI SPORTS STATE COACHES OF THE YEAR

Division I: Ed Azzam (Westchester, Los Angeles)

Also named State Coach of the Year overall.

Division II: Tim Sweeney Jr. (M.L. King, Riverside)

It's pretty hard to top what Sweeney Jr. did and that's lead a school with its first senior class to a state championship, not to mention a huge win over nationally-ranked Mater Dei. Tim's dad, Tim Sweeney Sr., was a highly-successful boys coach for many years at Lakewood.

Division III: Rich Forslund (Riordan, San Francisco)

Forslund crafted a team built around seniors Marquise Kately and John Tofi and the Crusaders wound up winning the Div. III state title. Forslund's squad also won the NorCal Div. III crown last year but lost in the state final to Bishop Montgomery of Torrance.

Division IV: Zach Jones (Horizon, San Diego)

Winning the state championship in the division was nice, since the division was so strong. But just as significantly Jones guided the Panthers to a 40-point win over Carlsbad, which wound up the Div. I champ in the CIF San Diego Section and established them as the top team in the section regardless of division. Jones also has a Southern Regional title in Div. V from 1997 on his resume.

Division V: Colin Jones (University, San Francisco)

The Red Devils were seeded No. 2 in the CIF North Coast Section playoffs and were No. 4 in the NorCal playoffs. Didn't matter. Jones got his team fired up and the result was a trip to the state finals.

Note: Michael Lynch (Price) not considered for Div. V since he already has been picked twice in the last four years.

STATE COACHES OF THE YEAR

ALL-TIME LIST

(All selections by Cal-Hi Sports)

2002 -- Ed Azzam (Westchester, Los Angeles) 32-2

2001 -- Vance Walberg (Clovis West, Fresno) 31-1

2000 -- Frank Allocco (De La Salle, Concord) 31-1

1999 -- Clinton Williams (Fremont, Oakland) 28-4

1998 -- Jerry DeBusk (Santa Margarita, Rancho SM) 32-2

1997 -- Frank LaPorte (St. Joseph, Alameda) 31-4

1996 -- Russell Otis (Dominguez, Compton) 34-2

1995 -- Steve Filios (St. Francis, Mountain View) 27-8

1994 -- Hank Meyer (Jesuit, Carmichael) 31-7

1993 -- John Barrette (Palo Alto) 31-0

1992 -- Tom Orlich (South Tahoe, South Lake Tahoe) 30-1

1991 -- Tom McCluskey (Tustin) 30-4

1990 -- Lou Cvijanovich (Santa Clara, Oxnard) 28-0

1989 -- Willie West (Crenshaw, Los Angeles) 25-2

1988 -- Reggie Morris (Manual Arts, Los Angeles) 27-3

1987 -- Gary McKnight (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 31-1

1986 -- Mike Phelps (Bishop O'Dowd, Oakland) 31-5

1985 -- Stephen Keith (Glendale) 28-0

1984 -- Ron Palmer (Poly, Long Beach) 31-2

1983 -- Jorge Calienes (Bosco Tech, Rosemead) 25-5

1982 -- Dick Acres (Carson) 26-2

1981 -- Maury Halleck (San Marcos, Santa Barbara) 25-1

1980 -- Leo Allamanno (Fremont, Oakland) 24-2

1979 -- Dave Shigematsu (Castlemont, Oakland) 23-3

1978 -- Ben Tapscott (McClymonds, Oakland) 22-3

1977 -- George Terzian (Pasadena) 29-3

1976 -- Bill Armstrong (Palm Springs) 22-4

1975 -- John Mihaljevich (Palos Verdes) 24-6

1974 -- Dan Risley (Elk Grove) 30-0

1973 -- Tom Conway (Stagg, Stockton) 28-0

1972 -- Tom Cleary (San Joaquin Memorial, Fresno) 27-2

1971 -- George McQuarn (Verbum Dei, Los Angeles) 29-2

1970 -- Spike Hensley (Berkeley) 32-0

1969 -- Gordon Nash (Helix, La Mesa) 29-2

1968 -- Ralph Krafve (East Bakersfield) 29-0

1967 -- Frank LaPorte (Bishop O'Dowd, Oakland) 37-2

1966 -- Len Craven (Sierra, Whittier) 28-1

1965 -- Leo Allamanno (Fremont, Oakland) 21-2

1964 -- Bill Mulligan (Poly, Long Beach) 32-1

1963 -- Bill Armstrong (Compton) 27-4

1962 -- Dick Edwards (El Camino, Sacramento) 23-1

1961 -- Paul Harless (McClymonds, Oakland) 19-1

1960 -- Bill Thayer (Fremont, Los Angeles) 17-1

Note: List continues back to 1920. Selections prior to 1977 made retroactively through research by Cal-Hi Sports founder Nelson Tennis.


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