Her team might have fallen just short of No. 1, but dominant season still gains the program a prestigious honor. Other coaches of the year have been selected for each CIF division.
Prior to the beginning of the season, many felt coach Terri Bamford of La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla) had an excellent team, but not many had the Torreys pegged at No. 9 in the nation or No. 2 in the state, which is where they ended up in the POWERADE FAB 50 and the Cal-Hi Sports overall top 40.
Now, after 13 seasons at the helm of the small private school near UC San Diego, Bamford has been named the 40th ESPNHS Cal-Hi Sports Girls State Coach of the Year. She is the first from the CIF San Diego Section to be selected for the honor since the late Lee Trepanier from Point Loma in 1987.
The local San Pasqual of Escondido grad that was elected to the school’s athletic Hall of Fame last year, and who went on to star at UC Irvine, has had some great teams, but many believe this was the finest.
This year’s Torreys finished with a school-best 32-1 record, and got Bamford her first CIF Division IV state championship, to go with two Division V state championships in 2001 and 2002.
Bamford didn’t have 2004 Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year Candice Wiggins like she did in 2001-02, but she had three stars, Kelsey Plum, and the University of San Diego-bound twins Maya and Malina Hood, five solid starters, and eight girls that got quality minutes.
“That’s really cool,” Bamford told Cal-Hi Sports when informed she had won. “It’s nice to get recognition, but for me it’s about the team, the kids and the journey.”
At Country Day, Bamford’s squads have posted an impressive 361-87 record, won 11 league titles, 11 CIF San Diego Section titles (2001-2008, 2010-2012), have made 10 Southern Regional championship appearances while winning six (2001-2004 and 2008, 2012), and have appeared in six CIF state finals (2001-2004, and 2008, 2012).
The veteran coach’s successes have not been limited to Country Day. In fact, Bamford has brought a winning attitude wherever she goes.
In 2001, she launched the highly respected San Diego (now called “Wiggins”) Waves club program for girls 9-18. The elite travel team is considered one of Southern California’s finest.
Prior to her arrival at Country Day, Bamford served as the head coach of her alma mater at San Pasqual, and led the Eagles to an undefeated Avocado League title (12-0) and a CIFSDS runner-up finish in 1990.
Before taking over the Eagles, Bamford led Mira Costa College to two undefeated league titles in 1989 and 1990. And prior to Mira Costa College, Bamford was at Palomar College, where she led the Comets, who were 0-25 before to her arrival, to their first league title. Coach Bamford was also assisted at UC Irvine in 1983-84. Despite all that, it’s this year’s team that helped her reach the pinnacle of California girls basketball coaches.
“They’re a really special group of girls that loved to play together. Every time they stepped on the floor they were ready to compete,” Bamford remarked.
Only a 50-48 loss in the championship game of the Oaks Christian tournament to a Long Beach Poly team they beat 53-41 at the Nike TOC prevented Bamford and her girls from posting a perfect record.
“We didn’t have anyone starting over 5-10, so we had a motto to start the season of ‘it’s not how big you are its how big you play,’ and Maya and Malina played inches taller, plus their senior leadership, and Kelsey’s consistency and scoring. It doesn’t get any better.”
With the Hood sisters moving on to the University of San Diego, Bamford can now boast 21 players, starting with Wiggins, that she’s sent along to play Division I college basketball.
Before coaching summer ball and then returning next year with Plum, and sophomore guard Tia Kanoa as the top players, Bamford will serve as a floor coach for the USA Basketball U17-U18 national team trials in May.
Here is the complete slate of 2012 ESPNHS Cal-Hi Sports State Coaches of the Year for girls basketball:
Cheryl Draper (Berkeley)
“Oh my god, I didn’t expect this,” Draper said when told she was receiving a state honor.
The Berkeley middle school teacher came to the Yellowjackets’ program in 2000 as an assistant, and then became head coach in 2007 after the retirement of legendary Gene Nakamura (the State Coach of the Year for 1991).
Although she’s never been able to snag a state championship, Draper has maintained the Yellowjackets’ tradition of excellence started by Nakamura. Her teams have won a CIF North Coast Section title every year of her tenure and three Northern California titles.
Unlike last year’s team that had three Division I college players, this team had one, Arizona State-bound Elisha Davis, yet Draper still led them to a 29-3 record after a loss to Mater Dei of Santa Ana in the state title game.
Even though a tearful , emotionally-drained Draper told Cal-Hi Sports she was retiring immediately after the loss to Mater Dei, she may return, unless a couple of college assistant coaching positions she’s interviewed for fall through, something she’ll know in about a week.
Leonard DeCoud (J.W. North, Riverside)
It was quite the turnaround for the Huskies under this first-year coach as the team went from just four wins last season to a 30-win record and state runner up finish this season.
It wasn’t like J.W. North was completely outplayed or outcoached by Archbishop Mitty of San Jose in the CIF state final, either. The Monarchs, with former State Coach of the Year Sue Phillips at the helm, prevailed by just 56-54.
Before being named the head coach of the Huskies, DeCoud previously was an assistant at M.L. King of Riverside and Poly of Riverside. His daughter, junior Simone DeCoud, was one of the team’s top players. The last to be honored as D2 Coach of the Year from the Inland Empire was Norco’s Rick Thompson in 2007.
Malik McCord (Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland)
Like his blossoming young team that he’s had from the beginning, McCord has blossomed as a coach in his three years at the Dragons’ helm. He is the first from the East Bay to be D3 Coach of the Year since Casey Rush from Acalanes of Lafayette in 1998.
That first year saw the team go 27-4 before losing a 50-48 heartbreaker to Sacramento in the CIF Northern Regional Division III semifinals. Last year, McCord’s team made it to a D3 state title game many thought it would win due to size and depth, but the sophomore dominated squad faltered in a 53-42 loss to St. Joseph of Santa Maria. This year’s team, on the other hand, went 30-3 and won a lopsided D3 state title game over Laguna Hills.
With all his talent returning, its McCord’s team that now is being talked about as a preseason possible top five national team.
Terri Bamford (La Jolla Country Day)
She also has been chosen as the Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year, including all divisions.
Que Ngo (Brookside Christian, Stockton)
Taking over just last year, Ngo has turned the Knights into a Division V state power in a short time. Brookside Christian went 30-4 and captured its first state championship in school history with a 70-64 triumph against Mission Prep of San Luis Obispo.
Coaching in the AAU ranks, Ngo, along with standout Tiara Tucker, came to the school at the same time and despite having a young team they have gone 56-11 in two years and should be favored to win the state title once again next season.
Ngo, also named the Coach of the Year by the Stockton Record, is believed to be the first Vietnamese-American to coach a team to a CIF state title. The last D5 Coach of the Year from the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section was Robb Spencer of Modesto Christian in 2004.
GIRLS STATE COACHES OF THE YEAR
(Selected by Cal-Hi Sports)
2012 - Terri Bamford, La Jolla Country Day (32-1)
2011 - Steve Smith, Los Angeles Windward (29-4)
2010 - Melissa Hearlihy, North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake (34-1)
2009 - Ron Hirschman, Danville Monte Vista (29-3)
2008 - Lorene Morgan, Long Beach Millikan (28-5)
2007 - Carl Buggs, Long Beach Poly (36-1)
2006 - Brian Harrigan, San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral (30-2)
2005 - Richard Wiard, La Puente Bishop Amat (35-0)
2004 - Tom Gonsalves, Stockton St. Mary's (32-4)
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, 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 Kellogg, 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)