As we’re still finishing up with football and other fall sports, we haven’t done much with winter sports yet.
But this one deserves some mention now.
Arroyo Valley girls basketball coach Michael Anderson’s mother, Valerie Anderson, passed away two days before Thanksgiving at the age of 60.
You may remember that Anderson stepped down as coach of Rialto after the 2012-13 season because his mother had a stroke and he needed to be her caregiver. He took the job at Arroyo Valley because it was close enough to his home in San Bernardino.
Anderson says he feels the support of his team, which is off to a 4-1 start to the season.
“It was hard to bail out on them (players). We use it as a motivational tool. They all had an opportunity to know how her after I left Rialto. They saw her around in a wheelchair and me being her caregiver,” Anderson said.
Michael Anderson doesn’t know what kind of reception he’ll get, but he’s glad to get it out of the way early.
Anderson, who coached Rialto High girls basketball for 5 years, winning a CIF-SS title in 2011 and also becoming a state finalist that year, is now at Arroyo Valley. His first game back to Rialto is Thursday at 6 p.m.
He has some friends still at Rialto, but many administrators are no longer at the school from when Anderson started there. He knows some Rialto players and parents were upset when he left last season, to be closer to home where he can tend to his mother. It got worse when he took the job at Arroyo Valley, but that being closer to home made it a better fit.
“I’m glad it’s early, to get it out of the way,” Anderson said. “It (reaction) is going to be mixed.”
He doesn’t know what kind of a reception he will get, or if Rialto will try and get a big rowdy crowd to come in response to Anderson’s return. Having the first game between the teams at Rialto (instead of Arroyo Valley) helps Anderson. “So I can see what they do first,” he said.
He said he heard that Rialto covered up some banners or references to his CIF-SS championship team, but also said that could be part of a gym refurbishment.
His Arroyo Valleyteam is 8-8 after losing its league opener on Tuesday to Carter and received two big blows, as Claudia Orantes tore her knee against Carter and is out for the year. In addition, junior Tamara Trigg, who was transferring from Rialto to Arroyo Valley, was ruled out for the year by CIF-SS. Rialto is 2-9 after losing its league opener on Tuesday to San Gorgonio.
Michael Anderson, new girls basketball coach at Arroyo Valley
Michael Anderson, who led Rialto High School’s girls basketball program to prominence in his five years as head coach, is the new head coach at Arroyo Valley he said.
Anderson built a 123-21 record in five years, winning at CIF-SS title in 2011 and was runner-up in the state that year. He stepped down after last season to spend time with his mother, who had suffered a stroke.
His mother lives with him, from where he can “walk to Arroyo Valley.”
Anderson said he talked to seven different schools after last season, but “Arroyo Valley was my first choice all along.”
Anderson takes over an Arroyo Valley program that went 6-20 last season and was blown out by Anderson’s Rialto squad by an average of 64 points in two San Andreas League games.
A full story will be on sbsun.com.
An investigation into allegations of recruiting made by the family of former player Diamond Smith in the Rialto girls basketball program and head coach Michael Anderson has found no wrongdoing according to Rialto principal Andres Luna.
A source within the Rialto Unified School District indicate that the findings regarding the inquiry into the Rialto High School girls basketball program will be released shortly after Superintendent Dr. Harold Cebrun returns from a conference in Monterey later this week.
The inquiry into the program and head coach Michael Anderson started after the family of former player Diamond Smith met with school and district officials about problems between Smith, a standout player for the Knights for three years, and Anderson — who led Rialto to a share of the Citrus Belt League championship last season and the CBL lead going into Wednesday night’s game at Redlands East Valley. Smith has transferred to Carter since the meeting according to her mother, Betsy Wilson.
Wilson accused Anderson of recruiting from outside of RHS’ enrollment zone, a charge that prompted the inquiry. However, Anderson has gotten support from parents of players still within the Rialto program.
“Michael Anderson is a great person and has done a lot for my daughter and the Rialto community,” said Kimberly Dobard, mother of junior forward Brittani Walker. “He is a great teacher and the team has done great since he’s been the coach. He’s given my daughter opportunities that she might not have had.”
The CIF-SS office, through e-mail correspondence with Director of Communciations Thom Simmons, has indicated that it will wait for RUSD’s findings before deciding whether or not to launch an inquiry of its own.
“Neither Rialto High School, Rialto Unified School District nor the family involved has asked us to intercede in any way at this time,” Simmons said via e-mail. “As is standard operating procedure whenever an accusation is brought against a school or a member of that school’s athletic department we allow the school the opportunity to do their due diligence first and only intercede if their is a feeling that more needs to done whether that be in terms of investigations and/or sanctions applied. It is my understanding that the school district is conducting their own investigation and we will respect their process.”
Rialto High School, in coordination with the Rialto Unified School District, is looking into the girls basketball program after allegations of misconduct against head coach Michael Anderson by the family of former player Diamond Smith.