By Ray Hamill — It was a year many local teams and coaches will remember for some time, including a very clutch Arcata baseball team.
Under the guidance of longtime head coach Troy Ghisetti, the Tigers battled adversity all season long and rode the challenge all the way to a North Coast Section championship.
They exceeded team expectations and they did so while battling a plethora of injuries to several key players.
All in all, considering what they ended up achieving, it was arguably Ghisetti’s best season yet on the sidelines, and that, coupled with another big year coaching the Arcata girls golf team, makes him our 2023 Humboldt Sports High School Coach of the Year.
A big shoutout to Mendes Supply, DelReka Distributing and The Stove Doctors in McKinleyville for helping to sponsor this year’s awards and helping to pay for the award trophies.
As with all of the Humboldt Sports year end awards — which also include Team of the Year and Big 5 and Little 4 boys and girls athletes of the year — the Coach of the Year was not an easy choice.
But Ghisetti’s impact with the Tigers in the 2022/23 school year was unmatched and timely, and his influence was appreciated by his players and the Arcata fans.
“The first thing about Troy is the consistency and standard he sets for his players is super high,” senior baseball player Cedar Cline said. “I don’t think any other coach has been able to match that consistency in league.”
Despite all of the injuries the Tigers had to battle on the baseball fields this year, most notably on the pitching staff, Ghisetti and his players would not be denied an historic campaign.
They were edged out for both the Big 5 and Charlie Lakin tournament — although some observers believe they would have won both if their pitchers had been healthy all spring — but they responded with a thrilling playoff run that will surely go down as one of the most exciting ever in the annals of the H-DNL.
But it was the belief Ghisetti instilled in his players that separated him from a field of worthy candidates for this year’s award, as well as the relationships he has built with them.
“He keeps a very straightforward relationship with his players,” Cline said. “He’s very honest about playing time and it’s super easy for the team because everyone knows where they stand.”
He impressed just as much in golf while leading the Arcata girls to another league crown and coaching up senior Sagen Sarchett to a second-place finish in the individual championship despite the fact she just took up the sport less than two years ago.
But that doesn’t surprise some of Ghisetti’s former players, including Avary Henry, who paid tribute to the coach after she reached the NCAA Division-III national championships with Aurora University this past spring.
Matt Tomlin, St. Bernard’s
Nick White, Del Norte
Tomlin continues to have a huge impact in the H-DNL in three different sports, and he continues to field highly competitive teams in all three.
The SB football, girls basketball and baseball coach led all of them to the playoffs this year, with the girls basketball and baseball teams exceeding expectations as young rosters came together quicker than expected.
White has been even more impressive on the football sidelines in recent years, leading the Warriors to arguably their greatest era ever.
Under White’s guidance, the Warriors continued to set the standard locally in the fall of 2022, both on the field and with the remarkable team culture he built during his time in charge.
He stepped down after another outstanding playoff season that included a huge statement win at Tennyson, but what he achieved with the Warriors during his time in charge was huge for the program and the Del Norte community.
He will be missed.