Before the 2012 California state championship game,
Orange County Register
longtime reporter Steve Fryer asked Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
boys basketball coach Gary McKnight if he's considering stepping down anytime soon.
"I love what I do," he told Fryer. "I'd like to coach as long as the good Lord will let me."
The good Lord has kept the now 61-year-old McKnight in coaching two more seasons and that's been bad news for opponents around Orange County, California and abroad. Instead of slowing down, the state's winningest coach continues to distance himself from the pack and in 2003-14 he and the Monarchs outdid themselves.
McKnight led Mater Dei to a 35-0 record, its fourth-straight state title, 11th overall and with it, a mythical national title.
For it, McKnight was named the
MaxPreps National Boys Basketball Coach of the Year
, and today he was awarded the MaxPreps National Boys Coach of the Year award for all sports.
As MaxPreps National Basketball Editor Jason Hickman pointed out, other Mater Dei teams were arguably more talented. But the combination of National Player of the Year Stanley Johnson (25 points, eight rebounds, three assists per game) and a rotation of one other senior in Isaiah Juarez, three juniors, three sophomores and a freshman proved to be impossible to beat.
After defeating Bishop O'Dowd 71-61 in the state finals, McKnight said: "To be unbeaten, to beat that team, to win the fictitious national championship, I never would've guessed it. I was feeling stressed before the game, but the kids played well."
They seem to always do so under McKnight, who now has 995 wins, which ranks 13th all-time according to the NFHS Record Book
. His career win percentage of .921 is the best in high school basketball history. His teams have won at least 30 games 10 straight seasons.
Don't expect McKnight to leave anytime soon. This is what he told Fryer: "Coaching basketball is the only thing I do. The school treats me great, we have great kids to work with and I'm still having fun."
McKnight edged fellow Southern California coach and MaxPreps National Football Coach of the Year
Jason Negro of St. John Bosco (Bellflower)
, whose team snapped De La Salle's 40-game win streak and four-year run as state Open Division champion. SJB finished 16-0 and No. 3 in the nation. Other finalists:
Jamie Corr, Lambert (Suwanee, Ga.), baseball —
Corr led a surprising Longhorns team to a 36-2 record, state AAAAAA title and No. 2 national ranking. Corr had to coach his tail off in the playoffs. These are his team's winning scores: 2-0, 2-1, 2-0, 2-0 and 2-1. Sam Duane, Corona del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.), basketball —
With great expectations, Duane led the Aztecs to their third-straight state title and 34-1 record, plus a No. 7 final Xcellent 25 national ranking. Masaki Matsumoto, Bernstein (Hollywood, Calif.), football —
Using untypical football tactics, Matsumoto led the Dragons to an 11-2 record and 19th win over two seasons after the program had won four games over four seasons. Past MaxPreps Boys Coaches of the Year2012-13 —
Bob Ladouceur, De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)
, football2011-12 —
Dick Katte, Denver Christian
, basketball2010-11 —
Dave Cresap, Perham (Minn.)
, basketball2009-10 —
Mike Newsome, Butler (Matthews, N.C.)