For 25 years, Tom Hofman has been the boys' basketball coach at La Cañada, a public school known for its excellent academics and always competitive teams. In 1992, the Spartans won a Southern Section title, but Hofman saw how the landscape was changing with transfers and the rise of private schools.
"I really believed for 15, 20 years, this wasn't going to happen again," he said.
This season, La Cañada finished 30-4, won the Southern Section Division 3AA championship and came within one victory of reaching the state Division III final.
What earned him coach-of-the-year honors by The Times was his ability to mold a team consisting of neighborhood kids and get them to succeed.
"It gave me hope for the future," Hofman said. "There's so much talent in Southern California basketball, and it seems some schools are getting the bulk. It's an accomplishment for these kids."
La Cañada won a game in double overtime and another in overtime during the Southern Section playoffs, and also knocked off highly regarded Los Angeles Price en route to winning the 3AA title.