The CIF State Office recently announced the Section nominees for the NFHS California Coach of the Year award for the 2019-20 school year.
“The coaches were selected based on the positive work they have done with the student-athletes in their respective sports programs,” per a CIF press release.
SBLive is taking a closer look at the nominees from each of the state’s 10 Sections. Here are the nominees from the Central Coast Section:
Joseph Allegri – Harbor – Baseball
Harbor was 5-1 before COVID-19 halted the high school baseball season in California. Allegri has coached baseball at Harbor for 13 years.
Dan Powers – Pacific Grove – Boys Basketball
Powers led his team to a Division IV Central Coast Section playoff appearance in 2020.
LyRyan Russel – Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep – Girls Basketball
Russel coached Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep to the Central Coast Section Open Division playoffs as well as the Division II state playoffs this past season.
Phil Pompei – St. Francis – Boys Cross Country
Pompei, a 2008 graduate of St. Francis, was hired to lead the boys and girls cross country teams at St. Francis in 2019. He’s been coaching at the school since 2013. Pompei ran in college at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Albert Caruana – Crystal Springs Upland – Girls Cross Country
Caruana has coached at Crystal Springs for the last 25 seasons, winning 12 Central Coast Section team titles in that span (8 boys, 4 Girls).
Jeff Scheller – San Mateo – Football
San Mateo made the Division 3 Central Coast Section playoffs in 2019 under Scheller.
Ie-Chen Cheng – The Harker School – Girls Golf
Cheng is one of the top golf coaches in the state. She emphasizes team building over the individual accomplishments that are often associated with golf.
Ken Anderson – El Camino – Boys Soccer
El Camino went 7-13 a year ago, but won its final game of the year 4-2 over Woodside.
Jose Navarrette – Woodside – Girls Soccer
Navarrette led Woodside to the Central Coast Section Open Division in 2020.
Tom Cardinale – Notre Dame (Salinas) – Softball
Cardinale only coached one game in 2020, a 12-2 win over Aragon, due to COVID-19. He’s a coach who is beloved by his players.
Craig Norman – Salinas – Boys Swim & Dive
Norman was named a 2020 CCS Spring Sport Honor Coach, in addition to being an NFHS California Coach of the Year nominee.
AJ Vergara – Westmoor – Girls Swim & Dive
Vergara has coached for 17 years at Westmoor.
Dave Owdom – Aragon – Boys Tennis
Owdom has coached tennis at Aragon for 16 seasons. His teams have made the postseason nine times.
John Musser – Fremont – Girls Tennis
Musser has coached at Fremont since 2012.
Mike Rubin – St. Francis – Girls Volleyball
Under Rubin’s leadership, St. Francis made a Sectional semifinal and the state postseason tournament in 2019.
Ken Pollastrini – San Lorenzo – Boys Wrestling
Pollastrini has coached wrestling at San Lorenzo for over a decade. (Pollastrini is pictured above)
Jim Fannin – Stevenson School – Boys Water Polo
Fannin has coached at Stevenson since 1996.
Fernando Flanagan – Pioneer – Girls Wrestling
Flanagan also coaches on the boys side at Pioneer. He led the Mustangs to a Blossom Valley Athletic League title in 2015.