By Stephen Spiewak/Kevin Askeland
National Coach of the Year: Mike Alberghini, Grant (Sacramento, Calif.)
The country’s last high school football game of the 2008 season gave witness to one of the year’s biggest upsets.
Sacramento’s Grant High School, a team overlooked in its bid to represent Northern California in California's State Bowl Game in 2006, pulled off the unthinkable by edging Long Beach Poly 25-20.
For his efforts, Alberghini has been selected as the MaxPreps National Coach of the Year.
The upset over one of the country’s most respected programs capped an undefeated season for the Pacers and perhaps stands Alberghini’s finest accomplishment - a major statement considering Grant is 192-32-1 since he took over as head coach at the school in 1991.
As Alberghini sees it, his proudest moments occur when his players learn life lessons.
“I’m just trying to help kids become better people,” he told MaxPreps’ Mitch Stephens. “If we can win some games and championships all the better.”
For a full feature on Mike Alberghini, please visit Stephens’ piece in its entirety here.
Also considered: Gary Joseph, Katy (Texas), George Smith, St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)
Medium School Coach of the Year: M.C. Miller, Noxubee County (Macon, Miss.)
Before the 2007 season, Noxubee County had never played for a state championship.
Before the 2008 season, Noxubee County had never won a state championship.
Starting the 2009 season, the Tigers can cross both achievements off the list thanks to the fine work of head coach M.C. Miller, our choice for MaxPreps Medium School Coach of the Year.
With the 4A state title, Miller finished turning around a program void of any positive football memories. His worst-to-first transformation of Noxubee County, which has an enrollment of roughly 600, is one of the more compelling coaching stories anywhere.
This is not the first honor that Miller has received from MaxPreps. The MaxPreps Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard recently made a stop in Macon to recognize the Tigers, whose 14-0 record helped them to a ranking of 28th nationally, a feat previously unthinkable before Miller arrived.
Miller shows no signs of slowing down.
"I'm taking it one year at a time," he recently told the Clarion Ledger. "Right now, my health is good and I get along. As long as I can whoop and holler and raise hell like I'm doing, I'll still coach. You get a great coaching staff, you can keep going."
Also considered: Bill Cherpak, Thomas Jefferson (Jefferson Hills, Pa.), Brian Van Deusen, River Hill (Md.)
Small School Coach of the Year: Cyril Crutchfield, South Plaquemines (Port Sulphur, La.)
South Plaquemines may be a high school that was created to educate those displaced by Hurricane Katrina in the lower Plaquemines Parish, but gridiron success has become a substantial byproduct.
Leading the remarkable story has been head coach Cyril Crutchfield, MaxPreps’ Small School Coach of the Year.
Crutchfield's Hurricanes were dominant this season, posting eight consecutive shutouts. His team blasted Christian Life 62-16 in the 1A title game.
Known as a brilliant, emotional motivator, Crutchfield’s football Xs and Os are also highly regarded.
“They could give anyone a run for their money in any classification," Varnado head coach Paul Meyerchick told the Times Picayune.
Mighty words spoken about a tiny program.
Others considered: Jess Simpson, Buford (Ga.), Dan Reardon, Ursuline (Youngstown, Ohio)