Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Fresno Bee
Years: Four at Buchanan; 20 overall
Record: 22-3-3 last season, 68-24-9 at Buchanan and 311-95-50 overall, which includes a seven-year stint at Hoover.
Chosen because: Armed with a squad featuring 15 seniors – three of them four-year starters and three others third-year starters – Spurgeon led the Bears to a second straight Tri-River Athletic Conference title and their first Central Section title since 2003 with a 2-0 victory over Bullard in the D-I final. Spurgeon's team was given the No. 1 seed for the CIF Southern California Regionals, where Buchanan won two games before losing 4-1 against San Clemente in the D-I final. Bears finished with No. 16 ranking in ESPN Rise Fab 50 national poll.
Background: Prepped at Piedmont Hills High-San Jose before moving on to play at De Anza Community College for two years, for an amateur team in Holland for a year and finally professionally for three years with the Golden Gate Gaels of the American Soccer League and the San Jose Earthquakes of the Western Soccer Alliance. Started coaching career at his alma mater, Piedmont, before stints at Hoover (including the 1994 Central Section title), Pinecrest-North Carolina and O'Neal-North Carolina.
Striking similarities: Spurgeon earned his second Central Section championship 17 years after winning his first with Hoover, and the teams had a lot in common. Buchanan had 15 seniors, while Spurgeon's 1994 Patriots team had 17. Both teams scored 76 goals for the season and posted 15 shutouts. He remains close to many of his former Hoover players, including Fresno Fuego general manager Jeremy Schultz.
The future: Despite the loss of 15 seniors, including his son, Trevor, Spurgeon plans to continuing coaching at Buchanan and said he looks forward to the challenge of developing a new cast of raw, yet talented players.
He said it: "This group doesn't take much time off from soccer. It's a year-round thing. You could see it build. All the players had a passion for the game, and if you have that, you will succeed." – Spurgeon.
He said it, part II: "He's built this team up over the last four years. As freshmen, we had good players, but not a whole team. We were good the last three years, but finally this year, he gave us this mentality that we weren't going to lose." Buchanan four-year starter Trevor Spurgeon, John's son.
Also considered: Mendota's Luis Avila and Reedley's Bladimir Pizano. Avila, in his 15th season, helped the Aztecs break through this year in their fourth straight trip to a Central Section final with a 2-1 win over McFarland for the Division VI title. Avila's Aztecs went 27-2-1 and reached the semifinals of the CIF Southern California Regionals in D-III. Pizano, meanwhile, helped Reedley rally in the final week to win the North Yosemite League title, then directed the Pirates, as a No. 1 seed, to the D-II title, beating second-seeded Redwood 2-1 in the semifinals and top-seeded Golden Valley 1-0 on penalty kicks in the final. Reedley qualified for its first SoCal Regional berth in D-II.