Brief Written History of the Central Coast Section

The Central Coast Section is one of 10 Sections of the California Interscholastic Federation, which has administered athletic programs in public and private high schools throughout the state since its formation in the fall of 1914.

The CIF's 10 sections offer students attending approximately 1,400 member schools an opportunity to participate in 27 boy's and girl's sports.  The Federation offers statewide competition in five sports, including basketball, golf and track and field for both boys and girls as well a girl's volleyball and boy's wrestling.

More than 100 schools are members of the Central Coast Section, which has jurisdiction over the schools in five counties--San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey--in a geographic region stretching from Daly City in the north to King City in the south.  A number of Catholic and Christian high schools in San Francisco also compete in CCS member leagues.

High school sports in the region date back to the late 19th Century.  As early as 1895, teams from San Jose High School and Santa Cruz High School played a football game, won by Santa Cruz, 6-0.  San Francisco Catholic school archrivals St. Ignatius and Sacred Heart Cathedral also met on on the gridiron before the turn of the century. 

Football, baseball, basketball and track and field were mainstays of interscholastic schedules through the first half of the 20th Century.  Prep competition was limited to male students, except for a few girl's basketball, baseball and volleyball teams early in the period.

Schools that now belong to the Central Coast Section were members of the North Coast Section until mid-1965.  By that time, the North Coast Section's membership had grown so large that its territory was divided, creating the CCS.

Lee Sims, former principal at Santa Cruz High School and commissioner of both the Monterey Bay and Mission Trail Athletic Leagues, was appointed as the new section's first commissioner.

Sims served until 1970 when he was succeeded by R.E. "Gene" Arnold, former Santa Clara County deputy school's superintendent and commissioner of local prep leagues.

When Arnold retired in 1976, the CCS was headed for one year by co-commissioners Dick Ferguson, Joyce Ridgeway and Larry Rice.  The latter became the section's commissioner in 1977.  Rice held the office until his retirement in 1989, when assistant commissioner Nancy Lazenby Blaser took over the chief executive's position.

The CCS offered section-wide competition for the first time in the winter of 1965-66, when boys cross country runners and wrestlers participated in their first events.

The following spring, male swimmers, tennis players, and track and field athletes took part in their first CCS section competition.  The first baseball tournament was played in 1967 and basketball began postseason play the next winter.

Soccer began in 1970.  Two sports were added in 1972, golf in the spring and football the following fall.  In 1974, water polo became a CCS championships sport.  Division 3 soccer was offered from 1988 to 2007.

The first girl's competition was track and field.  The initial meet was staged in 1974, nearly a year before President Gerald Ford signed Title IX legislation mandating equality in men's and women's athletics programs.  In the fall of the same year, girl's swimming became a CCS Championship, followed quickly by tennis, badminton (which added boy's competition in 1986) and volleyball in 1975.

Girls were given more opportunities to compete in subsequent years as the Central Coast Section added championships in field hockey, gymnastics and softball in 1976, and basketball, cross country and soccer in 1977.  Golf was offered in 1993 and a CCS Championships in water polo for girls began in 1996.

Volleyball became the first new CCS Championship available to boys in more than two decades in 1997, giving CCS a balanced program of 13 sports for both boys and girls.

In the early years, athletes from schools of all sizes competed against one another in section tournaments.  That began to change in 1980, when football was split into three divisions based on strength of the leagues.  by 1982, volleyball playoffs were split into two divisions based on the average enrollment of schools.  Softball and basketball went to division play a year later and cross country, soccer and baseball divisions were created in 1987.