By Ray Hamill — College of the Redwoods will welcome back an old friend for next season after head coach Ryan Bisio announced that Zac Claus has joined the coaching staff of the men’s basketball team.
Claus, a Fortuna High graduate who played two seasons at CR before transferring to Puget Sound last year, joins a staff that includes his older brother Justin Claus, who is the team’s associate head coach.
And the Corsairs are happy to add another former player to a staff that also includes Hoopa’s Blake Rossman.
“We couldn’t be happier that Zac wants to rejoin the program,” Bisio said. “What an incredible stroke of good luck for us. To add a perspective of his uniqueness to our day-to-day operations is incalculable.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see our players eating from his hand within days.”
For Claus, getting into coaching is something has has been considering for a few years, especially in his sophomore campaign with the Corsairs.
“It’s something I talked about in my last couple of years at CR,” he said. “And then when I came back and decided I was done playing basketball I talked with (Bisio) and he set it in motion.”
As a player, Zac certainly left a lasting mark with the Corsairs.
The former Husky joined CR right out of high school along with Fortuna teammates Drew Gillette and Bradley and Donald Willis, and together they helped Bisio turn around the fortunes of a struggling program.
In addition to being a two-time conference champion, Zac was a two-time all-conference selection and led the state in assists with 7.7 a game as a sophomore.
He also set the single season assists record for the program and left CR as the school’s all-time career leader in assists.
And if he sees the game as well from the bench as he did as a player, Zac’s addition will be hugely beneficial for the team.
But that’s not all he brings to the team.
“Beyond his nuanced basketball acumen, it’s his personal integrity and easy going kindness which reinforce our program values,” Bisio said.
Claus says he enjoyed his time at Puget Sound but has opted against returning for his senior year, saying it just wasn’t the right fit.
“It was fun. It was a whole new experience for me,” he said. “I’m glad I went there.”
Zac will join the team immediately and will be on hand as the players begin preparations for the upcoming season.
And he’s eager to get started and excited about the prospects of this year’s team, which includes returning all-state selection and conference MVP Trey Neff.
“I’m very, very excited about the team this year,” Zac said. “We’ve got some people back and we’ve got some people coming in, and I think it could be the best CR team in five or 10 years or however long. We have the potential to be amazing.”
Bisio appears to be just as excited about the addition to his coaching staff.
“He’s beloved by our community because of his humble spirit and his confident creativity,” the head coach said. “What a thrilling development.”