The Modesto Bee has been honoring the Stanislaus District’s premier high school athletes and coaches for more than three decades, and the list is a “who’s who” of the region’s greatest athletes.
Some have gone on to make their mark in college athletics, while others didn’t play much after graduating high school. The criteria for being The Bee’s Player of Coach of the Year, however, is based on their high school performance for that single season.
The Bee talks with coaches, rival players and recruiters to get a well-rounded take on the region’s premier players and coaches in each sport.
Team success often plays a role in the selection, though there have been times when athletes and coaches have not won titles but still received recognition due to their feats.
The Bee’s all-district tradition began in 1977 with Sonora football coach Bud Castle being named Coach of the Year and expanded in 1983 when Ripon’s Tom West and Tracy’s Mike Serpa were the Offensive and Defensive players of the year, respectively.
Other sports have been added during the last quarter-century, and now they’re all in one place for easy viewing.
The district stretches from Manteca, up into Sonora and the foothills, south to Mariposa, west to Los Banos and up the West Side to Patterson. It includes Turlock, Modesto, Oakdale, Ceres and small cities such as Escalon, Ripon, Riverbank and Hilmar.
— Richard T. Estrada
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