By Ray Hamill — High school sports may be on hold, but two St. Bernard’s teams took a big step in their preparations for next year with the hiring of two new head coaches, announced by the school on Friday.
A busy Matt Tomlin will take over the varsity girls basketball team, while Issac Gildea will now coach the boys varsity.
Tomlin takes over from Mark Gardner, who himself took over from Tomlin just three years ago before deciding to step away after this past season.
“I am very excited to return as head coach of the amazing Lady Crusaders,” Tomlin said in a press release. “I look forward to building great relationships with my coaching staff, players, parents and alumni of our outstanding program. We will focus on a simple philosophy, ‘Play Hard and have Fun!’”
Tomlin, who also coaches both the football and baseball teams at the school, enjoyed tremendous success in his four years with the program from 2013-2017, posting a record of 89-39 while winning four league crowns, three NCS titles and two NorCal championships.
Gildea, a local legend in the sport who starred at McKinleyville High, CR and HSU, takes over from long-time head coach Steve Thrap, who stepped away after 13 years in charge this past winter.
“Issac is on the Mount Rushmore of local basketball legends,” St. Bernard’s Athletic Director Ryan Bisio said in a press release. “He’s dedicated his life to serving and developing the kids of our community. We’re beyond thrilled that he has taken his love for the game and applied it toward joining our Crusader family.”
Gildea is also a long-time local youth basketball coach who has been running basketball camps for a number of years, as well as a stint coaching at Arcata High.
“First, I want to thank the St. Bernard’s administration for giving me this opportunity to coach basketball at the varsity level,” Gildea said in a press release. “I am excited to be a part of the SB family. I can’t wait to work with these quality student athletes. I am sure we will all miss the legendary coach, Steve Thrap. I hope I can grow the love for the game of basketball here on the North Coast. Go SB!”