College of the Redwoods

Four local coaches who could build something special at CR


Ray Hamill/ – Matt Tomlin has won two state championships in the past five years at St. Bernard’s.

By Ray Hamill — While the recent news that College of the Redwoods is considering bringing back football doesn’t guarantee anything just yet, it also doesn’t mean we can’t begin to dream.

If the team returns, according to CR President Dr. Keith Flamer, certain things will have to change, including placing a greater emphasis on grades, retention and graduation of the players, as well as a bigger local recruiting drive.

The North Coast has a deep pool of talented players and while you won’t fill the CR roster with that pool, you can certainly build the program from it.

The new coach, whoever that might be, will need to understand that more than anything. That if you want to build a program that serves this community then you have to begin with local recruiting.

There are, I believe, several quality head coaching candidates here on the North Coast, which is one of the reasons we’re seeing such a deep pool of college-ready players coming out of the H-DNL.

And like I said, it’s not too early to start dreaming of who we would like to see take over the CR program, the sort of coach who would create a sizable local interest in the team.

Ryan Bisio gets it.

The CR men’s basketball coach has built a program the local community has fallen in love with, in part because it features so much local talent, and in part because Bisio understood from the get-go exactly how to go about that and bring that talent on board.

He has built a staff around him from throughout the county — Fortuna’s Justin Claus, South Fork’s Taylor Morrow and Hoopa’s Blake Rossman — which along with Bisio’s St. Bernard’s and Arcata background covers just about the entire area.

A new football coach, if he is to take advantage of the local talent, would benefit from taking the same approach with his staff.

Here then are four (or five) coaches I believe could do a fantastic job of building a quality program at CR, one that the local community would really get behind.

I will preface this by saying I have absolutely no idea whether any of these coaches would even be interested in taking over the Corsairs — I can only assume that some of them might be — and all of them are quite probably very happy and very committed to their current teams.

All I’m saying is I would love to see any of them at CR and I believe any of them would do a fantastic job there.

And you could add Garett Montana‘s name to the list as well. Another former Eureka High head coach who knows the local game as well as anybody and would probably bring a lot of Eureka players to the program. One of the best offensive minds in the area.

1 — Jason White

No one knows the local football scene better than the former Eureka and St. Bernard’s head coach, who has also been an assistant coach at both CR and Humboldt State and is on familiar terms with the college game.

White stepped down from the Loggers after last season, citing the need to take a break.

But who knows, maybe the CR job would tempt him back.

2 — Matt Tomlin

Tomlin, the current St. Bernard’s head coach, also knows the local football scene inside and out and would definitely build the team with locals first, understanding what CR football is all about having spent time there as an assistant.

The two-time state-championship winning head coach has had success wherever he’s coached (and in any sport he coaches) and he would be a perfect fit for CR, while making the Corsairs fun and exciting to watch.

3 — Mike Benbow

The Huskies head coach has built a dynasty of sorts in his time at Fortuna High, along with one of the best coaching staffs in the area.

And you know he could do the same at CR.

The one thing you always see from Fortuna is consistency and continued improvement from the players week to week, and I have no doubt he would be a huge success at CR.

5 — Nick White (or Chris White)

The younger brothers of Jason are no longer living in their older brother’s coaching career shadow.

Not after last year, when head coach Nick and assistant Chris put Del Norte football on the state map.

The twin brothers are both former CR and HSU players and have been around North Coast football for the past two decades, and either of them, if they were interested, appear well capable of building a competitive program at the local community college and attracting the top local talent.

Leave a Reply