CONCORD -- It's hard to say a coach is the best in the East Bay when his or her program simply fulfills expectations by winning league and North Coast Section titles.
That is until you aren't expected to win anymore.
The De La Salle soccer team entered the year ranked No. 1 and the favorites in the East Bay Athletic League and to win a sixth straight NCS Division I title.
But after a 3-4-3 start nearly halfway through the year, and thanks to hot starts by teams like Monte Vista, Berkeley, Pittsburg and Amador Valley, the Spartans were all but written off in the boys soccer community.
Then, the Spartans won 15 of their final 17 and charged through the NCS playoffs to another title, which is why Derricke Brown has been selected as the Bay Area News Group's East Bay Coach of the Year.
"This season was truly the most gratifying because of how far this group came from November to March," Brown said. "There were some great teams to overcome and nothing came easy. The talent was always there, but it took a couple of months to carve out our identity. Once the light came on, though, the boys dug in and got the job done."
Brown, who took over for Brian Voltattorni three years ago, has gone 58-12-11 since then.
"The dedication and work ethic that Coach Brown maintains is why his program has been consistently successful," De La Salle senior keeper Keegan Murphy said. "His attention to detail and focus on accountability allows him to strive for perfection each year."