California Coaches Association honors 2019-20 selections

SACRAMENTO — Each June the California Coaches Association honors dozens of coaches, as well as others who contribute to athletics, up and down our great state for the tremendous impact they have had on their campuses and in their communities. The association would like to bring recognition to these coaches and fine people who have supported athletics in California for many decades.

The Mission of the California Coaches Association is to provide a professional organization uniting all coaches in California, dedicated to maintaining the highest possible standards for athletic competition and coaching conditions in California.

Our annual awards ceremony dinner is slated for Saturday, June 13, 2020 in Sacramento. (Whether or not this event will be held is up in the air at this time with the current stay at home order due to COVID-19. CCA leadership should have a decision by May 10.)

"The annual awards dinner is the highlight of the year for our association. I absolutely love sitting there and listening to the vast stories of the influence of coaches who have dedicated their lives to building young men and women on and off the fields, courts and tracks," explained Chris Fore, the President of CCA.

Fore went on to say, "We are in an interesting time in the world of coaching, not just because of the current virus situation shutting down schools, but because coaching has changed in so many ways. Unfortunately, the on campus coach is becoming more and more of a rarity. The demands of coaching have also vastly changed over the course of the last ten years specifically. It has become a year round venture with unlimited demands on our coaches. We need to support our coaches more than ever. And this awards night is one way that we try to do this. It is not often that coaches are applauded for their efforts. Coaches do not look for these nights of recognition, but it sure is nice to be able to celebrate them."

Fore encourages all schools in California to purchase an Institutional Membership to help cover their coaches for this professional organization. "One thing that coaches get is a whopping two million dollar liability policy. This alone should be reason for schools to support their coaches with a membership." Institutional Membership costs either $200 or $300 for a school based on size. Additional coaches can be added for just $10 each when you enroll a school. For any schools or coaches joining right now, you get coverage all the way through July of 2021.

Of course coaches can join the association by themselves for the low cost of just $50.

For a historical look at our past award winners, including a list of the Hall of Famers, please visit our website.

Hall of Fame Inductees

At the top of the honorees this year are the three coaches being inducted into the Hall of Fame: Donald Ardissone, Don Lippi and Barbara Prato.

Donald Ardissone has developed both Major League Baseball players and National Football League players, a rare feat these days. He won Central Coast Section Championships in baseball at Bellarmine High School in 1981, 1985, 1986 and 1987, and was inducted into the Bellarmine Hall of Fame in 2006. He also won a CCS Football Championship at Bellarmine in 1981. Ardissone was the Bellarmine Athletic Director for 17 years. He led several different high schools to the CCS Playoffs including Cupertino (1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995) and Los Gatos High School (2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003.) Coach Ardissone also won an Oakland Section Championship at Skyline High School. He has also been honored with the following awards during his prestigious career: Section Athletic Director of the year in 2008, CIF Distinguished Service Award in 2011, and the Cal Hi Sports Baseball Coach of the Year in 1987.

Don Lippi is an energetic and passionate coach who spent 42 years coaching basketball in California at both St. Ignatius (San Francisco), St. Joseph (Alameda), St. Patrick/St. Vincent (Vallejo) and Skyline (Oakland) High Schools. He won an astounding 16 League Championships, 14 Section Championships and 4 State Championships while amassing more than 900 wins. Don has positively influenced thousands of students and student-athletes through his classroom as well as the basketball court. He was selected as the California Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2000.

Barbara Prato spent 29 years coaching tennis, where her teams won 250 matches, and 19 Section Championships. She also devoted 19 years of her life as an Athletic Director at Lowell High School in San Francisco where her teams won 164 championships in 16 different sports. She was acknowledged as the California State Athletic Director of the Year by the California State Athletic Directors Association in 1988. The National Federation of High Schools honored her in 1998 with a high school coach’s award, the same year she was selected as a Franklin Select Circle Tennis honoree. That same year our association also honored her as the Tennis Coach of the Year. In 2017, she was selected to the San Francisco Prep Hall of Fame and the Lowell High School Hall of Fame in 2003.

Special Award Winners

The Jim Brownfield Mentor Award is intended to recognize someone who has given support to interscholastic athletics and the coaching profession. It may encompass any sport, aspect, or phase of athletics providing it is an outstanding contribution of a positive and significant supportive effort worthy of special recognition. This year’s honoree is Rich Woodall from Marin Catholic High School of the North Coast Section. He has served on the NCS Board of Managers and Sports Advisory Committees. Woodall coached football at Novato High for 7 years, Marin Catholic for 15 years and College of Marin for 5 years. He has also coached: boys volleyball (6 years), girls basketball (16 years), track and field (16 years). Woodall has served as the Marin County Athletic League Assistant Commissioner.

The Dan Fukushima Lifetime Achievement Award goes to someone who has been an active coach for a minimum of 30 years at either the varsity or non varsity level, and exemplifies the ideals set forth by our association. This year’s honoree is John Berry of Kelseyville High School of the CIF North Coast Section. John taught middle school, high school, & junior college for 35 years. Kelseyville won 13 conference titles under Berry. He has had 19 golfers play at the collegiate level, five of which are PGA professionals. Berry has been a member of the NCS Management Committee since 1988, and has served as the stadium announcer for NCS basketball and football playoff games at Kelseyville.

The William Rockwell Distinguished Service Award is a non-coaching award and is intended to recognize distinguished continued support of Interscholastic Athletics and the coaching profession in California over a long period of time by an individual other than a coach or a former coach. Carlo Prandini spent over 40 years in education as a teacher, coach, site and central office administrator in the Clovis Unified School District. He coached both track and field, as well as cross country. For 14 years he was the Meet Director for the West Coast Relays and a number of other premiere track meets in California. He served for 2 years as meet director of the newly established CIF State Cross Country Championships. In 2016 Prandini also helped coordinate the USATF Jr. National Track Championships held in Clovis. While serving as Principal at Clovis West High School, the school was named California Athletic High School of the Year. He finished his career in education as the Associate Superintendent of Instruction and finally Deputy Superintendent overseeing logistics and systems.

Bill Paterson of the Sacramento Bee is recognized this year as the Ed Strelow Media Award Winner. This award is given annually to a reporter who we recognize for their strong and supportive work of high school athletics in the state. Paterson, a native San Franciscan, covered high school, college and professional sports in Northern California for 43 years before his retirement in 2017. He enjoyed a 28-year career as an editor and reporter at the Sacramento Bee, including 13 years as sports editor of the Bee’s Neighbors community newspapers. During that tenure, he and his staff won more than two dozen California Newspaper Publishers Association awards for in-depth reporting, feature writing, photography and general excellence. Although retired, Paterson continues to keep his hand in high school sports by producing The Bee’s weekly high school football roundup during the fall.

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