Imminent: Death, taxes and Tony Amundsen hired by Clovis North

Bullard boys basketball coach Tony Amundsen will be approved as Clovis North’s coach Wednesday by the Clovis Unified school board.

Tony Amundsen will be approved as Clovis North’s boys basketball coach Wednesday by the Clovis Unified school board in a high-profile switch that’s become as given as it is comical, really.

Unless, of course, you’re associated with Bullard’s program, which is taking a hit unlike any in school history in regard to coaches.

Consider my exchange Friday night with Clovis North athletic director Eric Swain at the state track and field meet at Buchanan:

Me: “So, Eric, is the Amundsen hire official?”

Swain (smiling): “The forwarded candidate will be approved Wednesday by the board.”

Me (laughing with the most rhetorical question of my 40-year reporting career): “So, who’s the ‘forwarded candidate?’”

Swain (laughing): “Cmon, buddy.”

And away goes Amundsen, who made that intention clear two weeks ago, when he told The Bee he wanted the Clovis North job because of an “overwhelming factor” — his family of five lives in that school’s attendance area. Further, that his oldest child, fifth-grader Cadee, will be on campus with him in the fall of 2014 at the Clovis North Educational Center, which combines Granite Ridge Intermediate and the high school in northeast Fresno at International and Willow Avenues.

What an enormous blow for not only Bullard, but the County/Metro Athletic Conference and Fresno Unified School District as well.

Understand this: A typical tenured teacher/coach in the district makes about $75,000.

Amundsen is worth double that, if not more, considering the following his teams have drawn from home to road to Selland Arena in a 119-38, five-year career with three consecutive Division I titles at the school.

There’s no doubt Bullard, a melting pot for basketball talent not only within its attendance area but Fresno Unified (see transfers), will replace Amundsen with a quality coach.

But, as Knights athletic director Doug Finks says, “You can’t bottle lightening.”

And Amundsen brought serious thunder and lightening to a program that not long ago could hosted a card game (one table, 10 players) at its home  games.

Past couple years? Routine turnaway crowds of around 1,500.

“Tony has created a Bullard community phenomenon,” Finks says. “What he’s done transcends basketball.”

Clovis North QB Rossi lands Cal-Hi Sports All-State overall 1st team

Clovis North quarterback Christian Rossi, left, passes downfield in the third quarter in a game against Central High Thursday night at Buchanan’s Veteran’s Memorial Stadium October 18, 2012 in Clovis. (ERIC PAUL ZAMORA/THE FRESNO BEE)

Clovis North senior quarterback Christian Rossi has made Cal-Hi Sports All-State overall first team — the only Central Section representative making the elite group.

The 34th annual, 30-player team is Cal-Hi’s highest level of recognition for football.

Rossi, after leading the Broncos to the section Division II title as a junior, guided them to a 12-2 record, a D-I championship and into the Southern California Regionals last season.

Making Cal-Hi’s 30-member second team as a multi-purpose player was Clovis senior running back/linebacker Adrian Salas.

And making the 60-player third team as defensive backs were seniors Jason Black of Clovis and Johnny Johnson of Central. Liberty-Bakersfield offensive lineman Cole Mazza also made it.

Cal-Hi Sports, which has already released its Small Schools and All-Sophomores All-State teams, also named its Medium Schools team Tuesday.

The Central Section was represented by five players: Mission Oak tight end Kevin Palma, Dinuba quarterback Marcus McMaryion, Kingsburg defensive lineman Ryan Steele, Garces offensive lineman Keoni Taylor and Ridgeview quarterback Kamari Cotton-Moya.

Games notes for Clovis North vs. Long Beach Poly

Notes/thoughts from tonight’s CIF State South Regional matching Clovis North (12-1) and Long Beach Poly (11-3) at Long Beach City College’s Veterans Memorial Stadium:

** This 64-year facility accommodates 11,600 fans and has a combination of aluminum bleachers and fixed chairbacks only on its west side. Clovis North fans are sitting to the north; Poly’s to the south.

** Love to know when the last time Poly and it’s 96-year program — with a state second-best 720 wins all time — has lost twice to Central Section teams in the same season. The Jackrabbits were beaten 29-6 here by Bakersfield Sept. 14. They’re 10-0 since.

** Last week, Poly defeated Mater Dei-Santa Ana 35-17 for the Southern Section’s coveted Pac-5 Division title. Mater Dei’s Chase Forrest passed for 316 yards. He’s the latest in a long line of Monarchs quarterbacks, including Matt Barkley and Matt Leinart. But, in talking to a few people who have seen both Forrest and Clovis North’s Christian Rossi, they say Rossi is clearly a cut above.

** Rossi has been exceptional both in accuracy, decision making and elusiveness while passing for 2,487 yards and 26 touchdowns with seven interceptions and a 63.5 completion percentage.
“He somehow prolongs plays by running around,” Poly coach Raul Lara says. “You can’t bring him down. Obviously, we’re a little concerned.”

** Clovis North senior wide receiver Marcus Rose (31 receptions, 616 yards, 5 TDs) has never been better than last week, when he caught six passes for 105 yards and a TD in the Broncos’ 27-10 win over Central for the section D-I championship. That was a highly acclaimed Grizzlies secondary he burned. And he’ll encounter another tonight.