By Ray Hamill — Matt Tomlin arguably had his best year yet coaching at St. Bernard’s, and that’s saying something considering his impressive resume.
As head coach of two of the school’s teams, Tomlin guided the Crusaders to unprecedented success in baseball, while also overseeing another remarkable fall in football.
And that makes him this year’s Humboldt Sports High School Coach of the Year.
There was plenty to set Tomlin apart from a worthy group of finalists for the award — in both sports.
In football, he led St. Bernard’s to two-game season sweeps over both Eureka and Fortuna, including shutting out each of them once.
The Crusaders would go on to reach the North Coast Section Division-4 semifinals, where they gave eventual state champion San Marin everything they could handle in a one-point loss.
His team was the most improved in the H-DNL from the COVID-shortened season the previous spring, growing in leaps and bounds.
But Tomlin was just getting warmed up.
He followed the success in football with an historic spring in baseball that saw the Crusaders win the H-DNL’s first-ever NCS and NorCal championship double in the sport.
Incredibly, they won the latter after being moved up three full divisions from the sections and beating a pair of schools with enrollments in the thousands.
In fairness, Tomlin may want to thank the outstanding Nick Dugan for some of that success, but the head coach and his staff deserve a ton of credit for setting the pieces in play and having their players prepared.
Incredibly, this was the fifth NCS and NorCal championship double Tomlin has achieved as a coach, having also done so twice in football and twice in girls basketball, all of them in the past eight years.
He also has won two state championships in football.
After the NorCal championship, Tomlin paid tribute to his father Al.
“I always want to give a lot of credit to my dad when it comes to my baseball career,” he said. “I learned more about baseball from him than anyone.”
He also paid tribute to his assistant coaches.
“It’s a simple philosophy for me,” he said. “I just try to surround myself with the best assistant coaches, because no one can do it on their own. I’m just so proud of those guys. It was a great team effort.”
St. Bernard’s principal Paul Shanahan also paid tribute to Tomlin earlier this year.
“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.”
A big shoutout to our awards sponsors — Mendes Supply Company, Six Rivers Property Management and The Stove Doctors — for their support, as well as to Sports World in Eureka for helping with the plaques.