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Coach steps down to focus on hoops
Brian de la Porte has decided to step down after four seasons as head coach of Ceres High School's varsity boys tennis program.

The move didn't come as a surprise.

Brian coaches another boys sport at his alma mater. He'll begin his third season with the Bulldogs' varsity boys basketball team this winter.

"That's my main priority," he said. "The only reason I came back this year was for the seniors."

Ceres High's tennis program had an amazing run under de la Porte's guidance.

The Bulldogs won a share of the Valley Oak League title this year, qualified for the playoffs three times and posted a combined record of 44-12 in conference play.

Ceres High upset Metropolitan Conference champion McClatchy 5-4 in the first round of the playoffs in 2007. The Bulldogs' last postseason appearance came in 1991.

Ceres High also had the top singles player in the VOL the past two years. Senior Luis Ochoa successfully defended his title last month.

Four-year players Wilson Liang, Harman Bains and Raul Massie improved every season.

Liang (No. 2 singles) and Bains (No. 3 singles) had marks of 25-5 and 22-9, respectively, this year. Both advanced to the quarterfinals of the VOL singles championships.

Massie starred on the Bulldogs' No. 1 doubles team. Raul and freshman Gurman Bains lost 7-6, 4-6, 10-12 to Oakdale's Blake Dunn and Daniel Dunning in the quarterfinals of the conference doubles tournament.

Nick Serratos, Manuel Cerrillo and Victor Cruz, three newcomers, also contributed at doubles.

"For the last four years, I've had really great kids," de la Porte said.

Brian's most successful season with the Bulldogs was his last.

Ceres High returned to the playoffs after a year absence, tied for first place in the VOL standings at 13-1 and captured the conference singles crown for the second straight season in 2010.

The Bulldogs also beat co-champion Manteca for the first time in eight meetings. Ceres High finished runner up to the Buffaloes in 2008 and 2007.

"It was a fun year," Brian said. "There's a list of memorable things. It (all of the success) is a once-in-a-lifetime deal. It's special to me. It's going to mean more to them later on."

Bryan Harden, longtime girls tennis coach and boys assistant, will replace de la Porte.

Ceres High's girls program has advanced to the playoffs three times, shared the VOL championship twice and won 46 of 60 conference matches the past four seasons.