Mt. San Antonio College softball's Ruby Rojas and El Camino baseball's Nate Fernley are the 2018-2019 South Coast Conference All Sports Coaches of the Year. For Rojas, she became the first person to win SCC Women's Coach of the Year for a third consecutive season while Fernley is a first time winner as Men's Coach of the Year. The awards were chosen via private ballot by SCC athletic directors this week as the honors reflect the top coach for all sports for each gender.
Rojas matched the only other 3-year run by any coach first accomplished by El Camino football's John Featherstone, who earned the Men's Coach of the Year in 1988-89, 1989-90 and 1990-91. Football coaches and other non-hosted SCC sport coaches are no longer considered for the award although Featherstone won all three times after the South Coast stopped hosting the sport in 1987.
Rojas directed the Mounties to their second straight CCCAA state title after also guiding Mt. SAC to an undefeated 22-0 mark for the program's fourth conference title in a row. Rojas herself was named SCC Softball Coach of the Year for a fourth straight season. Rojas was an Olympic player for Venezuela only 11 years ago after also being an All-ACC star at the University of Virginia. In the past three years, her teams have an impressive 127-17 combined winning record (.882 win percentage) and three trips to the state championship game. During this amazing run of success, Rojas has a current 25-game conference win streak.
Among the players Rojas coached were 3CFCA State SoCal Pitcher of the Year in Briana Wheeler, who was also State Tournament Pitcher of the Year for the second consecutive year. Third baseman Ciera Granado was named tourney MVP while Wheeler, first baseman Vicky Gutierrez and outfielder Ally Longtree were each selected NFCA All-Americans. Rojas and her assistant coaching staff were named the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Cal JC National Coaching Staff of the Year.
Fernley directed the Warriors to state runner-up honors (and a state #2 ranking) after losing a heartbreaking, walk-off championship finale to Orange Coast, 8-7 earlier this week. As the co-SCC South champions, El Camino led the state in victories, going 40-9 overall, earned the SoCal Region's No. 2 seed, then swept #15 seed Pasadena City in Round 1. In the Super Regionals, ECC slipped past Cypress in three games as Spencer Long launched a 2-run, walk-off homer in the ninth to erase a Cypress rally of four runs in the top of the inning as the Warriors secured an 8-7, game 3 win. El Camino then swept Glendale in the Sectionals to punch its ticket to the state tourney in Fresno. The Warriors led the state in pitching ERA.
Fernley coached All-State pitcher Jimmy Galicia and had nine players make the All-SCC South Team. He is the first baseball coach to win the award since Pasadena's Pat McGee in 2016-17 and the first ECC head coach to take home all-sports men's coach honors since track and field/cross country's Dean Lofgren was selected in 2010-11. Fernley completed his 13th season at ECC and passed a milestone 400 wins in his career during the playoffs. He also was named SCC Baseball Coach of the Year as well as the state's SoCal Coach of the Year.
Other men's coaches candidates were Cerritos state champion soccer coach Benny Artiaga, whose team finished 22-1-2, and Mt. SAC coach Marc Ruh, who directed conference titles in both swimming and water polo. His swim team was third overall and tops from SoCal at the CCCAA state meet and his swimmers won three individual state titles. On the women's side, other candidates were Long Beach City's Misty May-Treanor, who coached both indoor and beach volleyball conference titles and led the Vikings to state team runner-up honors in beach, and LA Harbor state cross country team champion coach Geoff Skarr, who also guided the racing of individual state champ Brenda Rosales-Coria.
LIST OF RECENT SOUTH COAST ALL-SPORTS COACHES OF THE YEAR
2018-19: M-Nate Fernley (El Camino, baseball); W-Ruby Rojas (Mt. San Antonio, softball)
2017-18: M-Ron Kamaka (Mt. San Antonio, track/field); W-Ruby Rojas (Mt. San Antonio, softball)
2016-17: M-Pat McGee (Pasadena CC, baseball); W-Ruby Rojas (Mt. San Antonio, softball)
2015-16: M-Ron Kamaka (Mt. San Antonio, track/field); W-co-winners Brian Crichlow (Mt. San Antonio, basketball) and Alvin Kim (Cerritos, tennis)
2014-15: M-Ron Kamaka (Mt. San Antonio, track/field/cross country), W-Jessica Rapoza (El Camino, softball)
2013-14: M-John Mosley (East Los Angeles, basketball), W-Ruben Gonzalez (Cerritos, soccer)
2012-13: M-Juan Sanchez (Mt. San Antonio, soccer), W-Brian Crichlow (Mt. San Antonio, basketball)
2011-12: M-Juan Sanchez (Mt. San Antonio, soccer), W-Ruben Gonzalez (Cerritos, soccer)
2010-11: M-Dean Lofgren (El Camino, track/field/cross country), W-Mike Goff (Mt. San Antonio, track/field)
2009-10: M-Juan Sanchez (Mt. San Antonio, soccer), W-Tammy Silva (Pasadena CC, volleyball)
2008-09: M-Benny Artiaga (Cerritos, soccer), W-Joe Peron (Pasadena CC, basketball)
2007-08: M-Alvin Kim (Cerritos, tennis), W-Kodee Murray (Cerritos, softball)
2006-07: M-Chris Oeding (Long Beach CC, water polo/swimming), W-co-winners Chris Oeding (Long Beach City, water polo/swimming) and Kelly Ford (Mt. San Antonio, softball)
2005-06: M-Casey Crook (Long Beach CC, baseball), W-Laura Beeman (Mt. San Antonio, basketball)
2004-05: M-Chris Oeding (Long Beach CC, water polo/swimming); W-Kelly Ford (Mt. San Antonio, softball)
2003-04: M-Juan Sanchez (Mt. San Antonio, soccer); W-co-winners Laura Beeman (Mt. San Antonio, basketball) and Mauricio Ingrassia (Long Beach CC, soccer)
Nate Fernley (far right) is the 2018-2019 SCC Men's Coach of the Year