Chris Dugan is turning things around in Ridgecrest at Cerro Coso College. The fourth year head coach comes into the season after winning 18 games in the 2019-2020 season. Dugan and his Coyotes have improved each season he has been coaching in Ridgecrest. The Santa Maria native served as an assistant coach at Sequoias and ended up taken the Cerro Coso job after school had started in 2018. “We were already in school for four weeks already, and I had five days to find an apartment,” said Dugan recalling his first season. In that first season, Dugan did not get a chance to recruit his players with the late arrival. The Coyotes competed that season in the Central Valley Conference in Northern California and finished with a 12-15 record.
The following season, the Coyotes were moving to a new conference and playing in Southern California in the Inland Empire Conference. Dugan had to hit the road recruiting and begin his culture in his Coyote era. “Most guys we recruit are out of state,” said Dugan. “I want tough and gritty guys and understand that I am intense, a constant grinder and want our guys to work,” added the fourth year head coach. The recruiting paid off as the Coyotes played solid basketball and boosted their win total to 18. The Coyotes failed to make the post season but played an even .500 in a solid conference. The program was on the right track and the Coyotes were playing in Southern California in his second season. “Going into the south, the talent level was different and you must come in and play every night in Southern California,” said Dugan. Cerro Coso faced Chaffey, Mt. San Jacinto, San Bernardino, Copper Mountain and Desert within the conference.
Coming into this new season the Coyotes will once again look to improve. Dugan and company will look to make a playoff push and compete in the upper half of the conference. “Our goal is to make the playoffs , finish in the top 3 in our league and win 20 games,” said Dugan. If things fall into to place and the trend of getting better continues, do not be surprised if the Coyotes make it happen.