Santa Rosa Fills Boys Basketball Post

Posted By Press Democrat Staff Writer Michael Coit:

Building a playoff contender and filling out three teams are the tasks for new Santa Rosa High School boys basketball coach John McGill, who takes over fulltime after filling in to finish last season.

The Panthers can only get better after a winless campaign and McGill sees signs for optimism in what is his first varsity posting after coaching and assisting the Santa Rosa junior varsity.

“We have a great group of younger kids at the school. We’re going to try and make the NBL playoffs,” McGill said.

While the junior varsity had a winning record and the freshmen won the North Bay League, the Panthers need to build a consistent foundation for success. McGill aims to field three solid teams.

“We will have a lot more bodies on all three teams next year. Our whole goal is to build the program,” he said.

Coaching at Santa Rosa was a plus, but McGill was hired for the coming season because he was both a good fit and is passionate about the program, said Principal Brad Coscarelli.

“He’s really, really dedicated to the concept of the team. He’s got great visions for the program,” Coscarelli said.

Attracting athletes and generating enthusiasm for Santa Rosa boys’ basketball began last season when McGill moved up from junior varsity to replace Kris Mahiri, who stepped down voluntarily in the middle of a frustrating campaign.

“They had gotten burned out. There was a lot of dejection,” McGill said. “We tried to simplify things and really wanted to make sure they had fun. It felt like a heavy weight was lifted toward the end of the year.”

Santa Rosa was more competitive in another tough NBL slate of games, including an overtime loss and a double overtime defeat.

The work for next season begins in June with AAU and summer league teams for both varsity and junior varsity.

McGill is an off-campus coach. He owns Valley Tire & Brake, in Santa Rosa, and is a third generation Santa Rosa High graduate.