De La Salle High golf coach Leo Lopoz emphasized accountability, responsibility and hard work. His players brought the brilliance.
Together, the package proved Spartan-like on the course.
Lopoz, in his 10th season, guided De La Salle to an unbeaten East Bay Athletic League championship and its second NorCal team title in three years.
Moreover, the Spartans were a close second at the North Coast Section Division I Tournament of Champions.
Thus, Lopoz was selected as Bay Area News Group East Bay Coach of the Year in boys golf -- an honor he considers a program award and a tribute to this players.
It's not just about golf at De La Salle, even with all the low scores. Integrity, teamwork and academics are also emphasized.
"We want to reinforce the mission of the school, which is a well-rounded student who respects others, ultimately," Lopoz said.
Lopoz described his team's collective integrity as "phenomenal. They were true student-athletes."
The Spartans also ranked near the top among his best teams, Lopoz said. The 2006 squad won the state championship. The 2013 team placed fifth at state in Carmel -- nine strokes behind champion Stevenson School-Pebble Beach -- but had a series of eye-popping successes during the season.
At the EBAL tournament, the Spartans' score of 374 was 12 shots lower than runner-up Foothill. De La Salle also finished first in the Joe Gambetta Invitational and De La Salle Invitational, second at the Freedom Invitational, and sixth in the Champions Invitational at the Terra Lago Golf Course in Indio.
Top junior players don't usually need swing tips from varsity coaches, who can usually only mess things up. "The lessons that they learn as a group are some of the things that you don't get in the individual summer club circuit for golf," Lopoz said. "It's a different dynamic because you have to work with others, and you rely on other scores to accomplish a team championship or an individual goal."