St. Augustine coach Mike Haupt's basketball team won the Division III state title this season.
His résumé overflows with accomplishments.
Three hundred and thirty career victories. Ten San Diego Section finals appearances. Four section championships. Four Western League titles. Two state finals appearances. One state championship.
One achievement, however, had eluded Mike Haupt throughout his 16-year tenure as St. Augustine coach. Until now. On Friday, Haupt was named Cal-Hi Sports state boys basketball Coach of the Year.
“This honor is a wonderful affirmation of our program and the way we do things,” Haupt told Cal-Hi Sports. “It means a lot to me and our school. This also belongs to my family, our coaches and the school; nobody does it by themselves.”
The honor comes three weeks after St. Augustine (29-4) won its first state championship in the program’s 91-year history, rallying from behind to defeat San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral 59-52 in overtime at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.
Haupt became just the third San Diego Section coach to receive the distinction and the first since Horizon's Zack Jones in 2003. Helix’s Gordon Nash won the award in 1969.
“Sometimes these awards are popularity contests,” St. Augustine Athletic Director Mike Stephenson said. “But we’re pretty confident that we have as good a basketball coach as there is in the country. Without question, he is more than deserving.”
Haupt’s roots in San Diego basketball run deep, going back to his days as a player at Mira Mesa High, where he shared section Player of the Year honors with Poway’s John Colborne in 1984. Haupt played college basketball at USD and studied with the Toreros as a college assistant for four years.
“Patience is what you learn most in coaching over the years,” Haupt said. “You put a plan together and hope it works. Until you win a big tournament or title, you really don’t know that what you do actually works. Seventeen years later, I’m fairly confident we have a good system.”
For 15 years, a state title eluded him.
In 2005, St. Augustine came close, knocking off Oak Park, Santa Margarita and powerhouse Artesia in the SoCal Regional championship. In the state finals, Santa Cruz overcame an 11-point deficit to defeat the Saints 67-56.
This season, St. Augustine ignited an identical playoff run. Avenging three consecutive regular-season losses to Cathedral Catholic, the Saints beat the Dons for the section title and again in the SoCal Regional semifinals 55-44 before outlasting West Hills Chaminade 61-57 in the regional finals.
“You look for someone who shares the vision of where the program sits within the school,” Stephenson said. “Basketball isn’t the most important thing. We want our kids to learn and do the right thing, be respectful, which is most important.
“The championships and the honors that come along are really kind of icing on the cake. Pretty sweet icing I have to say.”