Prep Focus: Forslund returns to alma mater Archbishop Riordan as assistant

One of San Francisco’s most decorated and successful high school basketball coaches is now set to return to the school where he made his greatest impact.

Rich Forslund has accepted an assistant coaching position at Archbishop Riordan, where he accumulated a 194-124 record as head coach from 1997 to 2007, including a pair of Northern California titles and the 2002 Division III State Championship.

Forslund most recently held the head coach position at Half Moon Bay, where he went 163-48 over seven years. He was controversially not asked to return following the 2017 season, and served as an assistant at Palo Alto over the past year, where the Vikings reached the CIF Northern California Division I Championship.

In his return to the Crusader program, Forslund will serve under one of his old players, Joey Curtin, who graduated in 2001.

“I learned about scouting, game planning and attention to detail in practice from coach Forslund,” said Curtin.

A fixture at gyms across the Bay Area as one of the most dedicated advance scouts in the area, Forslund will likely be seen around the region again, video camera and clipboard in tow while donning the purple and gold of his alma mater.

“The WCAL is not just one of the top leagues in terms of talent; it’s one of the top in terms of coaching,” said Forslund. “You don’t bring your A-game every night, you get your butt kicked.”

Not only will Forslund’s scouting ability be a valuable addition, but his defensive knowledge will help balance Riordan’s fast-paced offense.

“His acumen on the defensive side of the ball will be immensely valuable to us this season,” said Curtin.

He joins the staff of a team with high hopes for the coming season, led by a standout junior point guard in Je’Lani Clark.

“He has a boatload of potential,” said Forslund, “and he’s working to improve his outside shooting.”

Even with the departure of all-team leading scorer James Chun, who will graduate and play at Chaminade, Clark won’t be alone. Mack Yates showed his potential after a midseason call-up from junior varsity, and the Crusaders also return Donte Henderson, Justice Turner, Chimae Ugbaja and Zachary Quanico. Quanico stands at just 5-foot-5 but can jump out of the gym, as he showed with a tremendous chase-down block in a playoff win over Mills.

Though Riordan went just 4-10 in WCAL play this past season, the Crusaders went on to win the CCS Division III title — their 15th in program history — with a remarkable comeback over Monterey. They also pulled off a first-round state tournament upset of St. Patrick-St. Vincent.

SFIAC dinner: The second Annual San Francisco Italian Athletic Club High School Awards Banquet was held on Monday, honoring some of the City’s top prep athletes. St. Ignatius long jumper Alex Enos — a favorite to win the state title with a high mark of 25 feet — was named Athlete of the Year, while Owen Mahoney, who has starred on four of Lowell’s six straight AAA baseball championship teams, earned the Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors. Notable attendees included the state champion Galileo football team, local prep sports media icon Harold Abend and longtime referee Bill Black. Nearly 20 different schools were represented across nine different sports, including athletes from each of the city’s three major high school leagues. Steve Mariucci gave a speech to a crowd of nearly 200, and he was inducted as a member of the club. University head basketball coach Randy Bessolo served as the emcee, and he presented his star player, Spencer Spivy, with the Kevin Restani Basketball Trophy. St. Ignatius basketball coach Bob Drucker and Lowell soccer coach Ernie Feibusch were honored with the Dante Benedetti Trophy, the event’s lifetime achievement award.

Prep Focus writer Ethan Kassel covers high school sports throughout the Bay Area. If you have a story tip, game to watch or player to track, email him at ethankassel@gmail.com.

Ethan Kassel

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