Costa Mesa High has two coaches in their first seasons with the boys' and girls' soccer programs. It would be hard to tell the two men apart, if you just listened to them.
Amos Hernandez and Tamiko Davila struck me as very positive and similar when I met them recently. Now, I know why.
Davila, the girls' coach, mentored Hernandez, the boys' coach. The two are part of the Newport Mesa Soccer Club, where Davila is the director of soccer and Hernandez coaches the 9-, 10- and 11-year-old boys' teams.
When Davila took the Costa Mesa girls' job in April, after longtime coach Dan Johnston stepped down, it was Davila who asked Hernandez if he was interested in the boys' position at the school. Hernandez was and he applied.
Since he was hired, he had lofty goals for Costa Mesa, a team that has only made the CIF Southern Section playoffs once in the last 10 seasons.
"My goal from Day 1, and I told [my players], was to win a [CIF] ring. That's what the administration brought me in for," said Hernandez, who played at Lakewood High in the late 1990s, coached as an assistant at his alma mater in the early 2000s, before he moved on to coach on the club level for programs in Long Beach, Cerritos and Newport-Mesa.
"I've had success everywhere I've gone. From the first day at practice … it wasn't about winning [the Orange Coast League], it was about winning a [CIF] ring. If I don't put it out there for them, then I don't think they could imagine it on their own. I think it has to be spoken, any dream, at any point in life."
Through the first four league matches, the Mustangs are unbeaten at 2-0-2 and in first place under Hernandez.
When you consider the team entered the season on probation for piling up too many red cards last season, Costa Mesa has done very well. Hernandez has changed the culture, stressing hard work and unity.
The Mustangs can wrap up the first half of league play without a loss on Wednesday, when they play host to Laguna Beach at Jim Scott Stadium at 6:30 p.m.
Is there a changing of the guard in Pacific Coast League boys' basketball?
Corona del Mar has won or shared the league title in four of the last six seasons. The team used to be tough to beat whenever it played host to a league game.
In the past three seasons, only one league team has been able to travel to CdM and knock off the Sea Kings.
Last week, Northwood became the second league opponent in four seasons to win at CdM. The Timberwolves controlled much of the game, until the fourth quarter, but they held on and won, 55-53.
Northwood's coach is Tim O'Brien, a familiar name around town. CdM Coach Ryan Schachter calls O'Brien the best coach in the league.
There was a time O'Brien was the top coach in Orange County.
O'Brien is the same guy who was in charge at Estancia back in the day for five seasons, leading the Eagles to a CIF State Division III title in 1990-91, a CIF Southern Section Division 3-AA title in 1989-90, section runner-up finishes in 1990-91 and 1991-92, a 110-42 record, and two league titles.
O'Brien now has Northwood as the favorite to win league. The Timberwolves are 4-0 in league, one game ahead of CdM, which is 3-1.
If Northwood can claim the league crown, it will be the first time CdM has gone two seasons without finishing at the top in Schachter's seven seasons at the school.
About two weeks ago, CdM guard Max Stone drained eight three-pointers in a game. I asked Schachter afterward if any player during his time with the Sea Kings had made more in a game.
He offered up Ramon Mejia, believing the guard made nine threes in a Division III-A playoff game three seasons ago. I remembered that night, and after a little research, Mejia hit eight threes in the Sea Kings' 67-48 rout of Santa Barbara San Marcos in the second round.
What's more impressive is that Mejia hit six of eight threes in the fourth quarter and finished with 28 points.
Stone never got a chance to add to this eight threes because Schachter sat him the entire fourth quarter against Beckman. Stone, who finished with 30 points, watched as the Sea Kings were on their way to a 79-37 blowout.
All this talk about Manti Te'o and his fake girlfriend had me thinking about how much he might drop in this year's NFL Draft because of his involvement in the hoax.
I'm hoping he goes dead last, so I can cover him during Irrelevant Week here in Newport Beach this summer. Te'o's pseudo girlfriend would be the ideal Miss Irrelevant.