Coach: Football, Basketball & Baseball
Joe Cattarin joined the Half Moon Bay High School faculty in 1957 after serving two years in the Army. A graduate of the University of San Francisco with a double major in philosophy and history, Joe was well-prepared to follow his older brother into the teaching profession. When Principal Benson noted Joe’s experience as a star student athlete in football and baseball at Serra High School and with a teaching credential that included physical education, Joe was told that he would be teaching four classes of history, three classes of physical education and of course coaching.
The challenges of coaching at Half Moon Bay were monumental. The budget for uniforms and equipment was near non-existent; the opponents were members of the Bay Counties Athletic League, a league that required significant travel: Menlo School for Boys, Concordia in San Leandro, St. Vincent’s of Petaluma, Emeryville High School, California School for the Deaf, Santa Rosa Military Academy and Lick-Wilmerding. At times the team returned home so late in the evening that Joe slept on campus, the road back to his home in San Mateo was slower and less direct than it is today. And so, Joe became a coach of three teams, football, basketball and baseball, and began to establish his reputation on the Coastside as one of the most popular educators of all time.
Success on the field of play did not come easy. Few students had any significant playing experience since the Coastside had no Pop Warner, Little League or club basketball. Joe and fellow coach Sam Caputo had to teach basics just to be able to play a game. One championship team, the 1959 basketball 130s, included Dennis Tomberlin as one of Joe’s top players. Another top Cougar athlete that Joe coached was Tommy Pacheco.
Joe Cattarin’s contributions as a coach are significant, yet, it may be the lessons that he taught in the classroom that have made the greatest impact on his students. Athletes often sing praises for their favorite coaches, for the guidance and life lessons taught as part of the team experience, but only a lucky few students have experienced the living example of dedication and integrity set by Joe Cattarin. Joe’s student athletes and his classroom-only students benefited equally. And some of those students have become leaders in the Coastside community. Joe Cattarin reinforced the strong work ethic that was so prevalent in the community. Half Moon Bay High School student athlete and later science instructor Larry Giacomino said, “Having been a student of Joe’s for two years in World and U.S. History, and being coached by Joe, after all these years, I am still informed by Joe’s values of integrity, professionalism, hard work and joy.”
The induction of Joseph Cattarin into the Half Moon Bay High School Hall of Fame celebrates his willingness to teach in the classroom and shoulder a major part of the coaching duties. Examples of American heroes featured in lectures helped shape Joe’s students not only for athletic competition but for their adult lives. The impact of Joseph Cattarin on his athletes, his students and on the entire community is now shared and celebrated as part of our tradition of Cougar Pride.
Gary Dilley was originally hired at HMBHS to teach American Government and World History in 1971. He decided to become involved in coaching as a means of staying involved in athletics. He had played basketball and participated in track and field growing up.
In his 17 years at HMBHS, he coached 27 seasons of sports. They included 17 track and field seasons, six football seasons and four basketball seasons. From 1975 to 1988, he also served as the Athletic Director. In 1987, during his final year, the frosh-soph football team won the NPL championship (’87) and the boys’ varsity track team did as well (’88). It was a great way to leave HMBHS on a high note!
He has wonderful memories of his years coaching at HMB. He especially remembers the attitude with which the students approached their sport. He found them dedicated to their training, with a strong belief that with hard work, they had the potential to improve.
“It was never about winning,” he says. In fact, it was always about getting better at the sport. He believes that “winning too often has more to do with the level of competition, but one’s commitment to continual improvement results in both physical and affective change.” The real joy of coaching for Gary was the process of watching the kids accept the challenge to train every day, to work together as a team and to improve both their attitude and performance as they progressed.
He also strongly believes that “athletics in an educational institution is more about education than sport.” He appreciated being at a school where the administration agreed with those views. Special thanks go to Don Berry and Dan Depp who were supportive of his efforts. In addition, Joe Cattarin (who hired him to teach social sciences) also realized that Gary had multiple objectives as a classroom teacher/coach. Fellow coaches Jerry Murphy and Jack Coolidge welcomed him as a new staff member and provided valuable mentoring. Neil McNevin provided special help and “his friendship made coaching and working in what is best called ‘challenging’ conditions almost fun.” Ron Shoemaker, fellow American Government teacher was helpful academically. Another classroom mentor and friend was fellow World History teacher Bob Fernandez. Lastly, Gary is grateful to Librarian and cross-country coach Dick Calvin who was not only welcoming, but supportive as well.
Gary has fond memories from HMBHS of watching Craig Branstrom set a new county record in the high jump of 6’11”. He was also proud to be chosen by the San Mateo County Board of Education as a “Kent Award” recipient for a project he developed for his American Government students.
Neil McNevin began his coaching career at Half Moon Bay High School in the spring of 1970 when he took over the duty as head varsity baseball coach. Following in the footsteps of coach Harvey Koepf, who was well known as a “baseball man,” Neil had some big shoes to fill. The team was small but with HMBHS Hall of Famer Jim Emery leading the attack, the Cougars were very competitive then playing in the North Peninsula League.
Neil joined the faculty full-time later that same year. He coached football in the fall, wrestling in the winter and baseball in the spring! Coaching was tough enough but doing the grounds keeping made for arduous days. The Cougar varsity baseball team claimed its first NPL championship in 1974 recording 18 wins against only 6 losses. The Cougars also won the prestigious Easter Tournament and Neil was named NPL “Coach of the Year,” an honor repeated in 1980.
Varsity football coach Jerry Murphy recruited Neil to join his coaching staff and then Cougar Hall of Fame coach Jack Coolidge recruited Neil to join him in coaching wrestling. As a football coach, Neil led his frosh and frosh-soph teams to multiple championships. His junior varsity grapplers won another NPL title. But it was with varsity football that Neil performed his most impressive coaching. While he served as offensive coordinator, the Cougars won four consecutive NPL football championships. Neil’s efforts on behalf of Cougar athletes extended beyond coaching individual sports. He was instrumental in starting the “Bigger, Faster, Stronger” weight-training program. He enhanced the Block H award program. He started the “Blanket Award” that listed top athletes on blankets hung in the gym, as well as the Championship banners. His fundraising events included Boxing Night and Lift-a-thons. Neil was named Athletic Director in 1988, a position he held for 14 years until retirement in 2002.
Neil has some unique memories from his Half Moon Bay High School days such as having cows from “up the hill” wander onto the outfield during a baseball game and having to do the watering, reseeding and fertilizing of the football field during the summer to have it ready for the season. Another significant memory is beating Jefferson in football when Jefferson had several D-1 players. On being a small high school, Coach McNevin said, “It was always a joy to beat any opponent from over the hill.”
People instrumental in Neil’s teaching/coaching career were football coach Jerry Murphy and football/wrestling coach Jack Coolidge. Neil also acknowledges his social studies department chairman Joe Cattarin and fellow coaches Luis Mintegui, Gary Dilley, Don Dias, Scott Yeaman, Brian Von Almen and Johnny Francis as well as the Cougar Booster club for its support.
The Coastside kids made the most significant contribution to Coach Neil McNevin’s career, he said, calling them “the best kids in San Mateo County.”
Robert “Bob” Hunt was born in Flagstaff, Arizona in 1955. He passed away unexpectedly in April 2015 at the age of 60.
Bob attended HMBHS from 1969 to1973. He played football and basketball during all four years and also participated in baseball for two years while in high school. He was selected for the Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame for San Mateo County. He was also All County, Back of the Year, Central Coast Section Wide Receiver, 2nd Team and Tribune Athlete of the Week for Football in 1972. Also in that year, his team was NPL Co-Champions. He led the league in scoring with 11 touchdowns, 81 points, 2nd in rushing with 574 yards and 3rd in pass receiving.
Adding to his all around football acumen, Bob kicked field goals and played defensive back for the 1972 Cougar football team. He was the best all-around player in San Mateo County that year and was deservedly named MVP.
A close friend recalls some highlights from Bob’s football career. Late in the fourth quarter of a huge Terra Nova game that was played on a wet and muddy HMB field, Bob was playing a corner and intercepted a Rudy Castellanos pass late in the game. He ran it back for a TD to seal the win for the Cougars. Whatever was needed that season to win a game, Bob was the guy along with Pete who would make the play to win the game.
Bob was also active in the FFA where he earned the name “Pigman” for his pet pig “Wilbur.” One of his favorite extracurricular activities was to take camping trips to the desert as part of the Science Club. In addition, he was Senior Class President and attended Boy’s State representing his school.
After graduation, Bob attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on a full football scholarship. He played for one year and then switched to playing rugby for the remainder of his college career. He graduated in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science in Crop Science, Plant Protection. A true “aggie at heart,” he worked in San Luis Obispo growing crops. In 1978, he moved to Kelseyville to go into the marine construction business.
He married his wife Cheryl in 1981 and moved to San Diego in 1984 where he worked with his brother Mark in his electronics business. He went on to open his own electronics consulting firm, loved learning about and designing electronic boards and devices and is listed on approximately 60 patents.
Bob continued to participate in sports after college and excelled in softball, snow skiing and golf. He umpired baseball and softball in college and was also a basketball referee. He refereed HS basketball for many years and was on the board of the North County Basketball Officials Association (NCBOA) for many years serving as President, Secretary and Instructional Chair.
Bob and Cheryl were married for 34 years and have twin daughters, Katelyn and Abbie, who are now 24. His family will always remember him as Robert, their husband, dad and “electronics guru.” His friends will remember him as “Bob,” the multi-sport athlete who loved competing and who loved life
Shelly GainesBasketball & Softball
Shelly was born in Redwood City and attended HMBHS from 1990-1994. She takes pride in growing up in Half Moon Bay as a second-generation athlete. Her parents “dedicated endless hours, money and energy to ensure that I was always set-up to succeed,” she said.
During her high school tenure, Shelly played on a total of 10 teams (two volleyball, four basketball and four softball). Nine of those were championship teams and she was the Team Captain of six of them! Her active participation in multiple sports, athletic and leadership abilities and her dedication garnered her an impressive list of accolades.
During her freshman year, her basketball team was League Champion and 1st Team All League. She was voted Most Improved. In softball, the team was League Champion.
As a sophomore, she was named Team MVP, Team Captain and her team was League Champion and 1st Team All League for volleyball. The basketball team was Undefeated League Champion and 1st Team All League. Shelly was named Team MVP and Team Captain. In softball, the team was League Champion, CCS Runner-up and 2nd Team All League.
Her junior year she played basketball and was named Team Captain and Team MVP. The team was 1st Team All County and 1st Team All League. In softball, she served as Co-Team Captain and helped lead her team to Undefeated League Champions, 1st Team All County and 1st Team All League.
She didn’t slow down during her senior year and in basketball continued as Team Captain. The team was League Champion, CCS Semi-Finalists, 1st Team All County, 1st team All-League and Shelly was named League MVP. She finished up the year by again serving as Team Captain and helping the softball team to become Co-League Champions, 1st Team All County and 1st Team All-League.
Shelly feels “blessed and fortunate to play with some of the most talented, supportive and funniest athletes.” She remembers well how satisfying it felt to beat Terra Nova and also the early morning basketball workouts. Maybe due to those tough workouts, she said, “Nobody ever wanted to play HMB…because HMB Athletes were gritty!”
Two coaches who were influential in Shelly’s athletic career were Dennis Tomberlin and her Dad. Dennis pushed her and taught her that “nothing will ever be handed to you. Hard work, dedication and sportsmanship will always prevail.” She is grateful to have had the chance to play for him and for the life lessons he taught her. Although she didn’t realize it while in high school, she now sees that her dad “was an amazing coach.” He was instrumental in her lifelong success. She says, “I would not be who I am today or have this opportunity without him and my mom sacrificing everything. I never missed a practice, and always had the best equipment and opportunities available.”
Shelly went on to play softball and coach at the College of San Mateo. While there, she was Team Captain and had a .465 batting average. She was also 1st Team All-Conference and 1st Team All-State shortstop. Her name proudly graces the CSM Bulldog Wall of Fame. She was named Coaching Staff of the Year while coaching with Tom Martinez at CSM.
She continues to be involved in athletics and is now the proud co-owner of All Pro Training Academy, a softball and baseball indoor training facility.
A true “local,” Louis grew up on the Coastside. His mom and uncles also attended HMBHS, and he had many of the same teachers as they did! “I couldn’t get very far without somebody knowing who I was, or who my uncles were,” he said. “We had the same puffy curly head of hair.”
From 1994 to 1998, Louis was an enthusiastic member of the Cross Country (XC) Team. The XC team won the CCS Championship in 1994, 1996 and 1997. Louis was 1st place individual at CCS Championship races in 1995 and 1997 and 2nd place individual in 1994 and 1996.
At the CIF State Cross Country Meet in Fresno, Louis represented HMBHS and collected the following honors:
1994: 47th as an individual, 3rd as a team
1995: 5th as an individual
1996: 3rd as an individual, 4th place team
1997: 17th as an individual, 7th place team
In addition to Cross Country, Louis ran the mile during the Track season and won a lot of races. His mile record time was 4.26. He was named MVP and served as team captain numerous times.
Fellow team members and people in the community were supportive of Louis. Justin Stern (team captain in 1994, and the other runners helped him succeed from the time he was a freshman on the team. “It was a thrill to go to the CCS Finals and win the championship that year,” said Louis, who has a special appreciation for Mark Foyer of the HMB Review for “making me a local star…on an almost weekly basis.”
He was coached by Tim Chain who helped “shape up and organize workouts,” Dick Calvin, “longtime coach whose wife Leta took amazing photos that she developed in her own darkroom,” and Kevin Ostenberg who “was a very influential person in my life at the time.” Although Kevin made sure that his runners trained hard, he treated them as equals and was a valuable mentor.
After graduation, Louis attended Humboldt State University and studied Environmental Resources Engineering. He continued to run cross-country and track throughout college. He was All-Region several times and ran in the NCAA Nationals both as an individual and as part of a team.
His head coach, both a mentor and friend, required grueling workouts consisting of 60-100 miles per week. The pace was intense and the runners became “machines.” They also had a lot of fun together driving in the van to meets 6+ hours away every weekend.
In track, Louis ran the 1500 and 5000 meters. His personal best in the 1500 was 3:53 (a time which qualified him as an alternate for the NCAA National Track Championship in 2000). In 1999, he also earned Junior All-American Honors for placing 6th in the 5000 meters at the USA Junior Championships in Denton, TX.
In June 2004, Louis moved to Newark, Delaware to pursue a Master’s degree in Ocean Engineering at that University of Delaware’s College of Marine Studies. In 2007, he returned to his native Bay Area to work as a civil and coastal engineer for an environmental consulting firm. In 2017, he married Kate Ellen and baby daughter Vivian joined them in 2018. The family lives in Oakland with their dog, Jim Dude.
Lauren was born across the Bay in Berkeley, but feels lucky to have been able to grow up on the coast in a community where you can spend your high school years with some of the same kids you knew in preschool. From the time she was eight years old, playing rec softball on the Livewires, she found a second home in Half Moon Bay Athletics.
Lauren was a decorated member of the Track & Field team during her high school years. Her freshman year, the team consisted of 10-15 athletes, but by her senior year, that number had grown to more than 60. She truly enjoyed the experience of helping the team grow under the guidance of coaches Paul Farnsworth and Frank Lima.
Her list of accomplishments is long.
2007: Most Outstanding Frosh/Soph Girls Track
2008 : Most Outstanding Varsity Girls Track, All-League Varsity Track, PAL League Finals: 1st Place 400m, 2nd Place 200m, CCS: 2nd Place 400m, CIF State Meet-finished 10th
2009 : Most Outstanding Varsity Girls Track, All-League Varsity Track, PAL League Finals; 1st Place 400m, 1st Place 200m, 1st Place Long Jump, 2nd Place 800m, CCS: 2nd Place 400m, 4th Place 200m (qualified for State in both races)
2010 : Most Outstanding Varsity Girls Track, 2010 Champion Award Varsity Girls Track, All-League Varsity Track, PAL League Finals: 2nd Place 400m, 2nd Place 200m
In addition, Lauren holds the HMBHS school records in the 200m, 400m and Distance Medley Relays (100m, 800m). She is also the first person in the school’s history to qualify for two State track meets and to qualify in two events in the State Track & Field meet.
“The support I gained over the years on the Waves, in middle school track and up to High School Track & Field was simply unbelievable,” said Lauren. “The coaches and my fellow athletes for all my sports teams gave me the tools and the confidence to succeed.”
Special memories include placing 2nd in CCS and getting a berth to the State Championship Track Meet, placing 2nd in 2008 in the 400m after dropping more than one second off her best time (56.36), breaking a meet record at the Los Gatos Top 7 Meet and winning Most Outstanding Female Athlete at the Gilroy Invitational. She was also chosen as Athlete of the Week for the HMB Review four times.
Lauren attended UC San Diego where she was recruited to run on the track team. She graduated with a B.S. in Mathematics and Economics and a Minor in Accounting. Her track highlights at UCSD include: 4 year letter winner, Team Captain, 2012-2014, National Qualifier (4 years), Competed in 2 National Championships in the 4x400 relay, All American in the 4x4 relay (and School Record @ 3:42.17) at 2012 National Championships in Colorado, Top 3 finish in CCAA Section Championships in the 400 Hurdles, 2011 and 2014, Top 3 finish in CCAA Section Championships in the 4x400m Relay, #6 All Time in the 400H.
Lauren was Director of Operations for the UCSD Track & Field Team for 3 years, and currently works at L1 Technologies. She continues to compete in athletic events such as Spartan Races and Epic Series OCR.
Half Moon Bay is a special town. Everyone who lives here and those lucky ones who were able to grow up here know it! Spencer knows that HMB provided him with a foundation upon which to build his work ethic and life philosophy. He describes Half Moon Bay as “a very humble town with a nice slow pace. This allows kids to accomplish as much as they are willing to. Half Moon Bay taught me that I was the only one in control of my future, all I had to do was take advantage of the opportunities presented to me.”
When not in the classroom, Spencer could be found on the baseball field. He attended HMBHS from 2006-2009 and played more than 100 games over 4 years! He was a four-year varsity starter. From sophomore to senior year, his cumulative batting average was .391 with 106 hits and 58 RBIs. He was 1st Team All-League for three years and was named PAL Player of the Year in 2008. (During that year he had a .425 batting average in 87 at bats with 22 RBIs).
The biggest contributors to his athletic career were his parents, his head coach Tony Magagnini, and his childhood catching coach Dominic Magagnini. Both Tony and Dominic “took me under their wing at a very young age…and I would not have become the baseball player I was without them,” said Spencer. They allowed Spencer to develop his skills and to be able to perform at a high level when on the field. His dad also had an important role in his development and was always willing to take him to the field and throw batting practice for him.
One of Spencer’s favorite high school memories was the team’s win against Santa Cruz High School in 2009 during CCS playoff. “We were down late in the game and had a great comeback win to advance further into the playoffs,” he said. “With 2 outs in the bottom of the 7th inning, up by 1 run with runners on first and third, I back-picked the runner on first base by throwing the ball to one of my best friends, Cody Silveria, to end the game.” In 2009, the team made it further in CCS Playoffs than any other team in Half Moon Bay history.
Another stand out high school memory was from 2008 in a game against Carlmont. “I went 3-4 with a homerun against all my previous travel-ball teammates which was a nice validation for me as a player,” said Spencer. “My performance also helped us win the game against one of our then-current league rivals.”
After graduation Spencer continued to play baseball at Santa Clara University. He has a lot of wonderful memories and lifelong friends from that time. “Unfortunately,” said Spencer, “injuries took me out of baseball, but I will never forget what it has brought me.”
Spencer works as a CPA in mergers and acquisitions consulting at KPMG, where he has been since he graduated from college.
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