Forslund takes sabbatical for personal issues

After 10 years and 194 wins, Rich Forslund needed a break. The Riordan boys’ basketball coach said Monday he was granted a one-year leave of absence by the school to deal with what he called “personal situations beyond my control.” He will be replaced on an interim basis by frosh-soph coach Rich Buckner, who played on the Crusaders’ 1990 state championship team.

“I love coaching, but mentally and physically, I definitely needed a hiatus,” said Forslund, who has compiled a 194-124 record at the school. “There are some health and family issues that unfortunately need to be addressed. I’m hoping that I’m not going to be in a situation where I cannot coach again.”

Forslund did not expand on the factors that led to his decision. Riordan athletic director Ron Isola said Forlund’s request was “granted amicably” by the school.

“[Forslund] is the ultimate professional and hopefully this is a situation where you say ‘OK, see you in a year,’” said Isola, who preceded Forslund on the Crusaders’ bench and coached Buckner. “And with [Buckner], it’s nice to see an old Riordan guy staying around and wanting to work here.”

Forslund is a 1976 graduate of Riordan and coached a team led by two-time Examiner Player of the Year Rob Jones to a 28-5 record and a share of the West Catholic Athletic League regular-season title. His son Richie Forslund was a senior 3-point specialist on the team and will attend Georgetown this fall after becoming the school’s valedictorian.

Rich Forslund has led Riordan to four Central Coast Section Division III titles (most recently in 2006), with the success usually rooted in defense. The Crusaders allowed a WCAL-low 44.1 points per game in conference play this season and finished second in points allowed in each of the previous two years.

Forslund, 48, said he had contemplated taking a sabbatical after the 2005-06 season, but decided to stay on partially because of the opportunity to coach his son’s final year of high school ball.

“It’s something I’ve been grappling with for the last year and a half,” Rich Forslund said. “I almost stepped down last year, but after some conversations with Richie and a couple of assistants, I decided I was going to stick it out.”

Forslund is the second of The City’s three West Catholic Athletic League boys’ basketball coaches to step down this spring. Sacred Heart Cathedral’s John Perez resigned in March and was replaced by former Woodside coach Darrell Barbour. Forslund was rumored to have been interested in the Sacred Heart job, but denied it had any impact on his decision.

“If there’s an attractive opportunity out there, I’m always willing to at least talk to someone,” said Forslund, who also admitted to having interest in the St. Ignatius girls’ basketball job when it opened up last year. “Unfortunately, people think if I talk [to them], I’m willing to accept it. But I’d need a lot more information before I’d ever get even close to making that sort of career change.”

McCarthy honored: St. Ignatius girls’ swimming and diving coach Greg McCarthy has been selected as a Central Coast Section Honor Coach for 2007. The 13-year coach has the Wildcats (5-0) in first place in the West Catholic Athletic League this season, with the league diving finals set for Saturday at St. Ignatius and the swimming championships to be held May 12 at Sacred Heart Prep.

melliser@examiner.com

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