Are the Dynasty Days over?
This is my 18th year working on the Prep Pigskin Report. I’ve witnessed some amazing things. El Camino’s Herb Meyer posted 339 career wins. Oceanside won 7 straight CIF section titles, and I’ve witnessed the section rushing title broken several times over; most recently by 2014 Silver Pigskin Winner Royce Freeman (Imperial).
That’s only the tip of the iceberg but it started a debate at last Friday’s PPR post show get together. Will we ever see those sort of accomplishments again? For that I turn to the experts currently on the Prep Pigskin Report staff.
Question 1: Has the new CIF division realignment and Open Division rules killed the prospect of future dynasties, like Oceanside’s run of 7 straight section titles (2004-2010) or Cathedral Catholic’s 5 straight crowns (2007-2011)?
John Carroll, Former Oceanside Head Coach:
"The likelihood of a run of 7, like O’side, is less. However, that had never been done before either, and is an unparalleled achievement in the history of San Diego sports, and with the exception of De La Salle, the rest of CA. Someday, some program may be able to replicate, but it took about 100 years to achieve in the first place. But as difficult as it was to accomplish under the old system, it will be tougher with the moving divisions and all the best in the open… but doable."
CIFSDS Commissioner, Jerry Schniepp:
"It will obviously be much more difficult for a program to build a dynasty if your measuring tool is only championships won, and I think high school sports should be about a lot more than winning championships. As far as winning is concerned, I think the measuring stick has shifted and teams that qualify for the Open Division consistently are highly successful programs."
Question 2: Will we ever see another 300-win Coach?
John Shacklett, Former Morse Head Coach (229 career wins):
"John (Carroll) was going break Herb’s record (339), but his health failed him. So the short answer is no. One of the biggest changes in high school football is more and more coaches are coming from off campus. They are guns for hire. Here today, gone tomorrow. In my day, the football coach was always a teacher at the school. Part of the school’s very fabric. Long runs were not only possible, they were common. Nowadays, coaches don’t stay at any one school long enough to establish a consistent winner."
Question 3: Is the creation of the Open Division a success?
John Carroll, Former Oceanside Head Coach:
"There are hard opinions on each of the questions throughout the County. Done right, it is definitely a better system, but nothing is, or ever will be, perfect. I applaud the CIF for changing the system and being willing to evaluate as experience dictates."
Troy Starr/Former Helix High Coach:
"Yes, it takes the privates who have a huge advantage if their administrations are sports oriented and puts them with other privates and top public schools. The best schools need to play one another."
Question 4: Has the creation of all these additional divisions, "devalued" CIF titles?
Troy Starr, Former Helix High Coach:
"I understand, and have had the experience of turning around a program from a winless year to a CIF-LA Division 2 Finalist in 1992. The effect on the kids and the school were priceless and magical. Bonita Vista and El Capitan had those magical years. I would not call Division 1 or Division 3 a CIF Champion, only Open, Division 2 and a small schools. I would call them something else. I would also give those schools the opportunity to opt up to a higher division."
John Carroll/ Former Oceanside Head Coach:
"The chance to build programs and interest by having teams not used to success suddenly in the finals or winning divisional championships could build more good programs and success for schools working their way up. Nothing breeds success, like success. More teams having success is good for all."
John Shacklett/Former Morse Head Coach:
"Maybe, but the benefits for schools not used to winning far outweigh any concerns about where or not a title was "watered down." 40 years from a CIF title is still going to be a CIF title and guys and gals will still be bragging about it at their class reunion. What’s the harm in that?"
CIF Commissioner Jerry Schneipp:
"Since the change to competitive divisions, more than 60 schools have won their 1st championship in a sport in the last 3 years. 16 schools won their 1st-ever championship in any sport in the last 3 years. We’ve had amazing matchups in the Open Division in all sports including Saints/Helix in football last year which were clearly the best 2 teams… a matchup that never would have happened before the change. Christian football, a school with less than 400 kids won back to back DIII championships. The Bishop’s School has won boys & girls water polo and girls basketball Open Division Championships against schools with 3000 kids. La Jolla Country Day girls’ basketball and Foothills Boy’s basketball are small schools that had the chance to prove they were the best teams in the section and won Open titles. In other divisions, out of numerous great stories, San Diego High baseball in 2015, El Cajon Valley Boys basketball in 2015 and Calexico softball in 2016 had great seasons and a chance to compete and win championships. There are examples like these in every sport."
We’ll return to our experts throughout the season. If you have any questions you want discussed, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll see you Friday night at 10:30 pm,
Paul W. Rudy
Creator of The PPR