Brad Bussard has been promoted to head coach of Central Valley High School’s baseball program.
The 2015 Ceres High School grad replaces nine-year leader Derrick Goblirsch, who stepped down to spend more time with his family and focus on football.
“We had conversations about the possibility of this happening,” said Bussard, 25. “I’m definitely excited. It’s something I’ve been thinking about doing since I finished playing college baseball. I’m grateful for (Central Valley Athletic Director) Greg Magni giving me this opportunity at such a young age. He has a lot of confidence in me.”
Bussard was an assistant on Goblirsch’s staff for two years. A P.E. teacher at Central Valley since 2020-21, Bussard also coaches junior-varsity football at the high school.
Bussard assisted Jimmy Davis on the diamond for one season (2019-20) at Gregori High School.
“I’ve learned a lot from my mentors,” said Bussard, who singled out Goblirsch, Davis and his father John. “They helped me prepare for this. Everything I know about the game of baseball comes from my pops. I grew up on the field watching him coach. He taught me everything—how to approach the game, different game strategies and ways to attack a team, and how to run a program.”
Bussard inherits a program that had a combined record of 28-18, qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs once and captured one league title the past two seasons.
Central Valley made program history in 2022 by securing just its second playoff berth. Seeded 14th, the Hawks won one of two games while placing in the top eight in the Division-I bracket. Central Valley upset heavily-favored Elk Grove 3-2 in the opening round.
The Hawks annexed their first-ever conference championship and went 14-4 in 2021. Central Valley won eight of nine games against Western Athletic Conference South competition.
“We should be really solid the years moving forward,” Bussard said. “We got a lot of young talent.”
Bussard will have three assistant coaches in twin brother Brent (outfield), close friend/former Bulldog multi-sport athlete Jimmy Bates (infield/hitting) and college opponent Dylan Dudley (pitching).
A math teacher at Mae Hensley Jr. High, Brent was an assistant varsity baseball coach and junior-varsity football defensive coordinator at Ceres High the previous two years.
Bates previously helped coach varsity football and baseball at Ceres High. He teaches math at Central Valley.
Dudley suited up for Cal State East Bay. He graduated from Orestimba High in 2015.
“We got a lot of experience,” Brad Bussard said. “Hopefully, we can bring some championships to Central Valley.”
Bussard played college baseball for Holy Names University from 2016-19.
He collected seven homers, three triples, 15 doubles, 49 RBIs and 64 runs in 153 career games.
He ranks third in team history for most games played.
“I tried to change the culture,” Bussard said.
Bussard was named to the PacWest All-Academic Team his senior, junior, sophomore and freshman years.
He was a Division 2 Athletics Directors Association Academic Achievement Award winner in 2017.
“I took a lot of pride in my grades,” Bussard said. “I’m thankful my parents pushed me to keep them up. They always taught me if you have good grades it opens more doors for you.”
A model student-athlete, Bussard earned degrees in kinesiology and communications.
“I graduated with two majors in four years,” he said. “It was definitely a grind but at the end of the day it was worth it.”
Bussard played baseball, football and basketball at Ceres High School.
He was named Bulldog Male Athlete of the Year as a senior.
He was voted Most Valuable Player of the Western Athletic Conference in baseball during his final season.
Bussard, Ceres High’s No. 3 hitter, ranked first in the WAC in triples (3), doubles (4), RBIs (19), runs (15), stolen bases (10) and slugging percentage (.700), third in fielding percentage (.953), fifth in batting average (.450), and ninth in on-base percentage (.457).
A standout pitcher, Brad ranked second in league play in wins (5-0) and complete games (3), and third in ERA (1.18) and strikeouts (34). Just six of the 12 runs Bussard allowed were earned.
The Bulldogs went 23-7 on the year, captured their second straight WAC crown (11-1) and participated in the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.
Bussard filled a key role as Ceres High amassed an 84-31-1 overall record, participated in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs four times and claimed two WAC titles from 2012-15.
He threw for 4,394 yards with 37 touchdowns and 27 interceptions during his two-year stint at quarterback with Ceres High’s football program.
He concluded his prep career in memorable fashion as the Bulldogs ended a seven-year losing streak versus the crosstown-rival Hawks with a 24-7 victory. Ceres High eliminated Central Valley from playoff consideration on the final day of the season. Bussard threw for 186 yards with two TDs and no picks.
An honorable-mention pick on the gridiron as a senior, Bussard mustered 1,541 yards with 12 touchdowns and 11 picks in 10 games.
Bussard totaled 2,853 yards, 25 touchdowns and 16 interceptions his junior year. He had three 400-yard passing games. Brad tallied a program-record 437 yards and six TDs in his debut against Modesto High.
A reserve forward-guard in basketball senior year, Bussard buried two clutch free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining to lead 18th-seeded Ceres High to a 58-54 upset of No. 15 El Dorado in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III out-bracket playoff game. He totaled six points and was a major contributor on defense for the Bulldogs, who compiled a 14-12 overall record and finished third in the WAC (7-5). Ceres High last won in the postseason in 2000-01.