Central Valley’s Omar Leon and Ceres High’s Danny Barragan have been named the Courier’s co-Head Coaches of the Year for the winter sports season.
Leon and Barragan helped the boys and girls soccer programs at their respective schools maintain their winning traditions.
“We accomplished a lot because of him (Leon),” Hawks’ senior winger/attacking midfielder Isaac Juarez said. “He’s definitely one of the best coaches out there. He teaches you on and off the field. His way of expressing himself is very direct and will motivate you. He’s a good man.”
“He (Barragan) always gave us a set of goals,” Bulldogs’ junior striker Jackie Ruiz said. “He was very strict with us at practice but he also eased up and made it fun. He made sure we stayed humble.”
Barragan led Ceres High to its best season to date.
The Bulldogs amassed an 18-1-1 overall record, advanced to the quarterfinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoffs and claimed the Western Athletic Conference championship (13-0-1).
Barragan was named WAC Coach of the Year.
“One of the reasons I took the girls job was I wanted to see what I could do with them,” said Barragan, who led Ceres High’s boys soccer team to a program-best 20-2-4 overall record and the Division-III crown during the 2018-19 school year. “I made sure the team had a good bond. The most important thing is to try to get along with all of your players. You have to treat all of your players with respect. You have to set a good example.”
Central Valley amassed a 20-5-3 overall record, advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II championship game for the third time in four years and annexed its second consecutive Central California Conference title (9-1-2) under Leon’s guidance.
The Hawks also participated in the CIF Northern California Regional Championship Tournament for the second year in a row.
“I enjoy helping the kids on and off the field and maintaining the program,” Leon said. “The day I stop having fun, I won’t be here.”
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for him (Leon),” Central Valley senior goalkeeper Erick Martinez Stucchi said. “Coaching is different for him. This is his passion. He loves it.”
Leon should have been named the CCC’s Coach of the Year for the second straight season.
“I was very surprised he didn’t get it,” Juarez said. “He deserved it.”