By NICHOLAS VON WETTBERG
Residents of the San Francisco Bay Area should consider themselves lucky for the chance to watch a number of great local coaches, both young and old.
The dean of the group is Stanford women’s basketball head coach Tara VanDerveer, who has been on the farm since 1985 and has won two national championships. She’s taken the Cardinals to the Final Four the past five years - two times they lost in the final game. VanDerveer was voted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011. In total, she has guided Stanford to 10 Final Four appearances. She took a year off from her coaching duties to serve as Team USA women’s head coach, where she coached one of the best women’s team ever assembled. They went 60-0 during the course of the year (1996) and won the gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Perhaps even more impressive than all of her awards and championships is the coaching legacy she has spawned during her time in Palo Alto. Eighteen of her players or assistant coaches have gone onto careers of their own in college head coaching or in some basketball related capacity. At 59 years of age, VanDerveer is truly a legend in the game.
Next up is San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who finished his sixth season with the team in grand style with another World Series title, his second in three years. Bochy, 57, is considered one of the better managers of the era. He has to be considered the Giants best skipper since John McGraw and fans of the orange and black. His first year in 2007 was Barry Bonds's final season. Bochy got in on the ground floor of the front-office and their master plan - with an emphasis on pitching and defense, tailor made to AT&T Park's dimensions and personality. Bochy does not always go by the book he relies on feel and the baseball sixth sense that comes with being in the game for a total of 35 years. A career backup catcher for nine years he first broke into the league in 1978 after being drafted three years earlier. Even if he never wins another game as manager (he’s good for at least another 300) he’s a “made man” in these parts. He’ll forever have rounds bought for him and meals served his way. As for Hall of Fame, that’s two wins in three World Series chances (the other was in 1998 for the San Diego Padres – they were swept in the series by the New York Yankees). Bochy eventually gets a plaque in Cooperstown, as will a couple of the players from the 2010 and 2012 teams.
Then you have a couple of guys, both former players, rising to the top of their professions rather quickly.
The most noteworthy is San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who took over a team that had gone 6-10 in 2010 and performed a worst-to-first turnaround in 2011. The historic franchise went 13-3, won an epic playoff matchup against the New Orleans Saints then in the conference championship fell to the eventual Super Bowl winners the New York Giants. Once again the 49ers are in the postseason as a result of winning the NFC West.
On Saturday they play the Green Bay Packers at Candlestick Park in the NFC Divisional Playoff Game. Harbaugh did the not-so-unthinkable midway through the season when he replaced 49ers quarterback Alex Smith with Colin Kaepernick, a second year guy out of Nevada who at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds with a rocket arm and quick feet is born to play the position. Smith was forced to give up his starting spot after receiving a concussion in a game against the St. Louis Rams. Kaepernick, who presents a completely different dynamic when out on the field, meanwhile has posted a 5-2 record in his new role and is awaiting a career-defining moment with this weekend’s game.
Harbaugh, 49, made a big difference when he was at Stanford. He took over from Walt Harris in 2006. At that point the Cardinals had finished the previous season with a 1-11 record and were the official doormat for the Pac 12 (then Pac 10) conference. Four years later the football program was on top of the world, celebrating an 11-1 season, a 40-12 Orange Bowl win and a number-four ranking.
His replacement David Shaw has gone 23-4 in his two seasons, and is coming off a 20-14 win in the Rose Bowl. Shaw is good enough where we might be adding his name to the list in a few years.
The other young gun, at least experience-wise, is over in Oakland. Unlike Harbaugh, Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson was not successful in his first year on the sidelines. Jackson will turn 48-years-old in April, which is when he hopes the Warriors will begin their run through the playoffs. Last year, going in to the regular season, Jackson thought there was no in-between and predicted the Warriors would make the playoffs. That call didn't turn out so good because the Warriors went 23-43. In his defense, some of the guys on the roster were leftovers. He definitely didn’t want the burden of having to deal with the backcourt combination of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis. With his play this season, Curry has squashed any lingering thoughts of regret over the decision to keep him and move Ellis.
The current team is all about guys like forward David Lee, who is having a career season, not as much in terms of numbers (he is the only guy in the league averaging 20 and 10) but more because he is putting them up in games that count. Bringing in Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry were brilliant moves by GM Pete Myers, good enough to win him recognition at the end of the season. Almost as genius was the drafting of center Festus Ezili and forward Draymond Green (Harrison Barnes was a no-brainer after falling to number seven). Myers though should send his thank you letter to Cavs GM Chris Grant for selecting Dion Waiters, which dropped Damian Lillard down to the sixth pick.
Ellis, who was traded to Milwaukee for big man Andre Bogut has played not bad for the Bucks, but who can really tell considering he’s paired up in the backcourt with Keith Jennings (a big talent but still figuring things out). Head coach Scott Skiles just got fired so it’s a mess up there in Wisconsin.
Jackson has done an excellent job and is already showing signs of developing into an elite NBA head coach. Like Doc Rivers, he is a player’s coach who sees things like a point guard, but one who wasn’t blessed with much size or speed and still made it. Jackson finished his time in the league, which lasted for 17 years, third on the all-time list in career assists.
Jackson never got around to coaching college. After his playing time, he became an announcer for ESPN then jumped at the chance to coach the Warriors in June of 2011, right before the commencement of a six-month work stoppage.The team is in capable hands mainly due to the fact that the primary goal of ownership, along with eventually moving them to San Francisco, is to win. Jackson will continue to challenge his players. At the same time he gives them the respect they feel has been earned. The New York City native has managed to completely change the culture and has his finger on the pulse of team at all times. He knows how guys are feeling, what their moods are and what they’re capable of doing each and every night.
By Macon Araneta
FilAm Star Correspondent
The Philippine Supreme Court (SC) recently declared constitutional the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), signed during the state visit of U.S. President Barack Obama in 2014, which will allow the US rotational presence in the country.
The EDCA, which has an initial term of 10 years, was signed in time for the state visit of Obama on April 28 last year as part of his four-nation Asian tour. This would allow the U.S. to rotate its troops, store equipment and operate facilities in Philippine bases.
Sen. Bongbong Marcos expressed his frustrations over the government’s negligence to Filipino inventors as he urged support to inventors of the internationally-acclaimed salt-powered lamp.
Senator Sonny Angara recently urged authorities to look into the alleged overcharging by airport taxis at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
|CALIFORNIA AND BEYOND||More >|