Former Roseville coach adds some Pop to son's Bella Vista basketball program
There’s a timeout in the action at Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento, and Grant Gonzalez is all over the basketball court — dribbling, shooting, swishing, chasing, dribbling some more, shooting again and chasing the ball. Over and over he shoots, during timeouts, at halftime and after the game, too.
“He’s like his dad,” Paul Gonzalez says of Grant, his 12-year-old grandson, still shooting in the mostly empty gym following Bella Vista’s impressive 77-59 Capital Valley Conference victory.
David Gonzalez remembers being in his son’s shoes more than 30 years ago — dribbling, shooting and chasing down the basketball while his dad, Paul, was in the early stage of what would become a coaching legacy.
“I remember being a little kid, and they had a gym to the side of that, behind the big gym, and I’d go in there” during varsity and JV games at Oakmont, David Gonzalez says.
Paul Gonzalez coached one year at Roseville, moved over to Oakmont for nine years and in 1978 returned to Roseville, where he spent more than 20 years. He piled up more than 400 victories and coached Roseville teams to multiple Sac-Joaquin Section championships and a Northern California crown in 1980.
Gonzalez coached daughter Kim, a hotshot pitcher, on the softball diamond and won another section title. Kim went on to play for a national-championship team at Sacramento City College and then Texas A&M. On the basketball court, Paul coached son David, the MVP of the Sierra Foothill League in his senior season — 1985 — when he averaged 26 points per game and lit up El Camino for 41 in the playoffs.
“I walk in there, and it’s like, gosh, you have those memories, and they were good times,” David Gonzalez says of Moeller Gym at Roseville. “We had a lot of success, and I got to play for my dad. Roseville was a great school.”
David went on to become the MVP of the Bay Valley Conference at Sierra College, followed by a stellar career at Chico State, knowing the whole time he wanted to become a teacher.
And here he is today, a teacher and the varsity boys basketball coach at Bella Vista, ranked No. 4 in Division II in the latest section power ratings. And who has been with Gonzalez on the bench for the past eight or so seasons but his dad.
The Broncos (19-4, 5-1 CVC) played Del Campo on Tuesday night with sole possession of first place on the line, and they’ll be hosts to Oakmont (12-10, 3-3) at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Son and dad have Bella Vista on track for its seventh playoff berth in nine seasons. The Broncos also are gunning for what would be their fourth league title in five years.
“Just hard work, and you gotta have some talent. It’s a blend of both,” David Gonzalez says. “It’s a great academic school. But it’s taken some time. But now we’re getting kids, the kids have bought in, and they know it’s a pride thing. The first couple years, we weren’t very good.”
“I’ll say,” Paul Gonzalez says with a chuckle.
Before landing on Bella Vista’s bench next to his son, Paul Gonzalez helped David’s twin sister, Cheryl, start the P.E. program at Granite Bay High School. Paul assisted Cheryl with the softball team, and Cheryl assisted her dad in basketball. Cheryl now teaches at Granite Oaks Middle School, and Kimberly works for the Sacramento County Office of Education.
“I always told people I was going to retire (at Roseville), but I had a chance to go to Granite Bay,” Paul Gonzalez says of the opportunity to work with Cheryl, herself a former star athlete at Roseville.
Then came the opportunity to coach with David. Paul recalls not wanting to be asked out of pity, “or something like that,” he says. “If you want me to help you, I’ll help you.”
David Gonzalez, 44, had been at the helm at Bella Vista for three years after his dad stopped coaching, and he indeed wanted the help; needed the help.
“We weren’t very good at the time. I needed all the help I could get,” David Gonzalez says. “And we went from there. He’s obviously a great resource. We have fun with it. It’s a chance to spend time with him. I give him a lot of credit for what we’ve done the last few years.
“Like I said, there’s nobody better you can trust, right? … If you can’t trust your dad, who can you trust? It’s been really a great experience.”
David lives in Granite Bay. Paul was born in Roseville and still lives in Roseville.
“It’s been great, and I get to spend more time with him,” Paul says of David.
And that goes for Grant, still pounding the court and casting shots at Christian Brothers.
“He’s a competitor; that’s the thing,” Paul says. “He wants to get better.”
Contact Bill Poindexter at email@example.com.
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