By Ray Hamill — Matt Tomlin won’t be leaving St Bernard’s any time soon.
After giving some serious consideration to his future this offseason, the highly-touted local coach has reached a new five-year agreement with the school to continue to run the Crusaders’ football and baseball teams.
Tomlin was in the process of accepting an offer to coach football at the collegiate level, one of many offers he has received in recent years, when he met with St. Bernard’s principal Paul Shanahan on Tuesday morning.
And after what Tomlin described as “such a great conversation,” the new coach has signed on for five more years at the local high school.
“I couldn’t be any more excited about it,” Tomlin said. “Mr. Shanahan made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. It’s five years on the level of what college coaches receive. I feel blessed.”
The school was equally delighted with the commitment.
“As much as I appreciate Matt’s winning records, league and section titles, and state championships — what I love most is his ability to teach,” Shanahan said. “Matt is just a wonderful teacher.
“From film study in the classroom to practice on the field to halftime adjustments, Matt is a master. Our students perform better in the classroom and in the real world because of their time with Coach Tomlin.”
Tomlin, who was recently voted the 2021 Humboldt Sports Coach of the Year by sports fans here on the North Coast, is a St. Bernard’s graduate who is in his ninth year coaching Crusaders sports and he has enjoyed tremendous success in football, girls basketball and baseball.
He has an overall record of 83-26 on the football sidelines, including a remarkable 26-1 record in the Little 4, and he also has led the Crusaders to pair of section and state titles.
“He is the coach of the decade in Humboldt County,” Shanahan said.
Tomlin graduated from St Bernard’s in 1995 and says his association with the school has been life altering.
“It means the world to me,” he said of the extension. “My life was changed when I came to St. Bernard’s, just being around great coaches and teammates. It made me want to be a coach.”
The long-time, multi-sport coach often describes the Crusaders as “family” and paid tribute to the school for the role everyone there played when his daughter Reve battled cancer recently.
“The school was there for my family when we needed it,” he said.
Reve, who is a St. Bernard’s graduate, is now 100 percent recovered and she began teaching in Alaska this week after graduating from the University of Hawaii Hilo.
The timing of the extension will give the Crusaders a boost this spring, and they believe they have a legitimate shot at a state title in baseball, which schools around California will finally get the opportunity to play for in 2022.
“We’re 20 days away from starting and we feel we have the No. 1 Division-6 team in the state,” Tomlin said.