Carson High School boys basketball coach Carlos Mendeguia stepping down
Carlos Mendeguia, who was the Sierra League Coach of the Year the last two seasons, turned in his resignation to school officials last Friday.
Mendeguia, who guided Carson to three regional finals in his five years as head coach, told his returning players Monday morning of his decision. In five years, he never had a losing league record, and his team compiled an 11-5 record in 4A play this season, which was good enough for third place in the Sierra League.
Blair Roman, Carson athletic director, said that the opening would be posted within the district in the next couple of days. District personnel has first crack at any opening, and then the job would open to outside candidates.
Mendeguia has been coaching at CHS since the late 1990s and before that at Carson Middle School.
“It wasn’t an easy decision,” he said. “I’ve been coaching since 1993. I coached football for seven years with coach (Bob) Bateman. It (coaching) takes a lot of time.
“Having a daughter (Amaya) who plays competitive softball, I’m missing a lot of her tournaments coaching summer basketball, and that’s time I can never get back. I want to spend more time doing that. I’m going to retire from teaching in two years, and I want to spend the time with my family.”
The one thing that stands out about Carson basketball is its work ethic. If they put pictures next to words in the dictionary, just pop in any CHS team picture next to the word blue collar. That, in a nutshell, is what the Senators’ program is all about.
It is a style first started by former coach Pete Padgett and it carried down to Bruce Barnes and then Mendeguia. The Senators certainly have been an extension of their coaches in the last 20 years.
“I’m a very intense guy. I don’t think that’s a secret to anybody,” Mendeguia said. “I just try to instill that (intensity) in the team. When I played for coach Padgett, he told us to never let anybody out-work you on the court.
“I took pride as a player. No matter if the other team is more talented, they can’t take away your heart and how hard you work. Our goal was to never let a team out-work us. We played with a chip on our shoulder. A lot of our success is that we played so hard.”
Especially on the defensive end, according to Barnes.
“We were always pretty good at the defensive end,” Barnes said. “We weren’t always good at the offensive end. If you get kids to buy in (defensively), you are going to be in every game.
“Carlos watched a lot of film; was very good at match-ups. I always felt like there were two head coaches on the sideline. He had as much input as I did.”
Veteran coach Dick Lee, who assisted Mendeguia four of the past five years, talked about the team’s style.
“Carlos’ teams overachieved,” Lee said. “You couldn’t be a sissy and play for Carlos. We play hard; played a physical style of basketball. I think we had everybody’s respect (in that regard). I think he will be sorely missed.”
Basketball, more than any other sport, sees teams that are extensions of their head coach, and that was true in terms of both Barnes and Mendeguia. Both were fiery individuals, and both got the most out of their rosters every year. Mendeguia offered his take on that situation.
“It’s the dynamic of the sport.” Mendeguia said. “You are on the court with them, and everything happens so fast. Football is slow paced. The ball hits the ground and the play is over, and you huddle between plays. Baseball is a lot slower. I’ve seen football teams take on the personality of their coach, but not as much as basketball.”
Mendeguia’s best season was the 2015-16 campaign when he piloted the Senators to a 24-5 season and a berth in the state tournament. Carson went 16-0 in the regular season and swept through the playoffs. The only game Carson lost on Northern Nevada soil was to Coronado in the state semifinals.
“To go 19-0 (undefeated regular season and post-season) and win league and zone was probably the most memorable team because of what we went through that year,” Mendeguia said. “Each team is different because it had different players and different personalties. That is the great thing about coaching, every year is different. All the teams I coached were special in their own unique way.”
Barnes, who was at nearly every home game, was impressed by the job Mendeguia did this year.
“This year was probably the best year of coaching in his career,” Barnes said. “Last year he went undefeated in league, but he had more pieces to make that happen. He beat everybody once, and I think the coaches realized that.”
The Senators lost Greg Wallace and Jace Keema prior to the season, and then lost a transfer from Incline, who would have been an all-leaguer according to Mendeguia. That left Carson with Tez Allen and Jayden DeJoseph to carry the load, and they did carry the team as far as they could.
Mendeguia has gotten help along the way during his career from Padgett, Aubrey McCreary and, of course, Barnes. Those four could talk basketball from sunrise to sunset and never get tired. In that quartet you are talking about some of the finest basketball minds around Northern Nevada, if not the state.
From Barnes, Mendeguia learned how to run a program on a day-to-day basis; scheduling and fundraising in addition to Xs and Os. Mendeguia said he never realized how much work Barnes did until he took over the program.
“People don’t realize how much time and work goes into running a program,” Mendeguia said. “You don’t just walk on the floor every day and coach.”