All-Bee Athletes

Coach of the Year: Fode Doumbia, Lindsay

Years: Five

2011-12 record: 23-2-3, 6-1-1 East Sequoia League

Chosen because: Took virtually the same team that won one league game and passed on the playoffs in 2011 and transformed them into ESL and Central Section champions with a 2-1 victory over Delano in the Division IV final. Cardinals also were selected to play in the CIF Southern California Regionals for the second time in five years, becoming the seventh team from the section to reach the final -- where they fell 2-1 against St. Augustine-San Diego in D-II.

How he did it: Doumbia believed his 2010-11 team focused far too much on individual accomplishments and not enough on working together as a team, with his players often comparing their statistics on the website maxpreps.com. So he decided to not keep stats this year. "As a coach, when things like that happen, you need to come up with something that can get them to change and try something new," Doumbia said. "I think it worked. We got together and played as a family and focused on our goal, which was winning Valley."

Coming to America: Doumbia, a native of Senegal, met his future wife while she was on a Peace Corps mission and moved to Utah to be with her in 1994. When their marriage ended in 2007, Doumbia started looking for a teaching/coaching job out of state, and Lindsay -- a town of roughly 11,000 in eastern Tulare County -- was the first school to make him an offer. "The principal said to come visit first because he knew I had no idea where Lindsay was and I did not know it was a small town," Doumbia said. "But I told him no matter what, I would take it."

Building success: Lindsay went 20-4-1, winning the ESL and section D-IV titles in Doumbia's first season in 2008. His teams have gone 76-38-8 with three ESL titles and two section crowns in his five seasons. "I was pretty confident I could bring the program up," Doumbia said.

He said it: "The town is really proud of the team and they all rallied behind the team. I think it put the town of Lindsay on the soccer map." -- Doumbia on the support the Cardinals received this past season

Also considered: Rodney Aguiar, Mt. Whitney, who directed the Pioneers to a 19-6-3 record, a share of the West Yosemite League title, the school's first section boys soccer championship (a 4-0 victory over Dinuba in the D-III final) and the school's first appearance in the SoCal Regionals.

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