Football: Blake and entire coaching staff dismissed at Riordan

Riordan head coach Bryan Blake speaks to his team at a workout in August. Blake was dismissed from his coaching position this week. (Photo by Tawnya Gray)

(Developing story)

By Jeremy Balan

UPDATE – 1:45 p.m. President Patrick Daly has officially named Richard Sweeney as the new head coach. Sweeney is a graduate of St. Ignatius and coached Sacred Heart Cathedral in the early 1980s, but most recently served as the defensive coordinator at Simon Frasor University in Canada.

“I realize that whoever leads the Crusader football program has a formidable task ahead of them, as far as rebuilding it,” Daly said. “He played at [St. Ignatius] and Santa Clara [University], and has the experience rebuilding programs at the high school and college level.”

Daly said that he allowed the coaching staff to reapply for their positions, but also stated that the decision is ultimately Sweeney’s.

“My goal as president is to put in place the people to turn things around and put Riordan in the top echelon of the [West Catholic Athletic League], not the basement,” Daly said.

——————–

After just a year on the job, Archbishop Riordan High School head football coach Bryan Blake has been dismissed as the head of the program, along with his entire coaching staff from the freshman to varsity levels.

The Crusaders went 1-9 under Blake last year, with their only win coming against rival St. Ignatius. Riordan has won just one game in each of the last three years, after a nine-win season and a CCS title in 2007.

“I got a voicemail [Monday] from the president saying the school is going in a different direction,” Blake said. “I’m very disappointed. I thought we had a really good foundation for a long future. We laid out a plan, knew where we wanted to go and prepared for all of that. Obviously we didn’t get the opportunity to see it through.”

At the beginning of April, school President Patrick Daly made the entire coaching staff reapply for their jobs, and the 13 positions on the school’s website are still listed as “Pending.”

“We’ve been hanging in the wind for six weeks now,” Blake said. “That was time we could have been working and preparing for next season.”

Riordan athletic director Ron Isola would not comment on the situation and deferred all questions to Daly, but did state that the rest of the coaching staff could still reapply for their jobs.

Daly was not available for comment as of 1 p.m. Wednesday.

“”Internal politics of a Catholic school are not always fair, but it is what it is,” Blake said. “It was certainly a surprise the way it has played out. What’s next for me? I don’t have an answer for that right now. I’m sure I’ll be back coaching or on a sideline soon. It’s all kind of new right now, to be without a home.”

There has been speculation who the next coach might be, but the school has yet to release any information of a new hire officially.

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(Photo Illustration by Josh Jalil)

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68 Comments

  1. Biggie says:

    I think President Daly is doing the right thing. He is bringing in new blood and new enthusiasm and then the talent will follow. Riordan can be made big again and Mr Daly is the right guy for the job. He wants to bring back discipline and hard work and continuing good kids around the school. Good job Mr Patrick Daly and I hope you restore the crusaders back to its form…

    • Basketabll Fan says:

      I agree with Biggie. Riordan needs some new blood from top to bottom in the school and Daly is the right guy for the job. Not only football is changing but many other things as well for the better.

  2. Apaulled says:

    Voicemail? NO CLASS!

  3. Riordan Fan says:

    Good for you Mr. Daly. That’s what strong leaders do. Make positive changes.

  4. Johnny Drama says:

    @apaulled…safe to assume he called him and Blake did not answer so he left a voicemail. A call must be made to leave a VM…..my father graduated from SI with coach Sweeney and from all indications, he is a class act. I hear alot of positives regarding Daly and what he is doing on Phelan. Instituting a boarding program in SF is a phenomenal idea. They have a long way to go to catch up with the Cats but they appear to be on the right track!!!

    • Riordan Supporter says:

      Would aPAULled have preferred Daly didn’t at least leave a message when Blake didn’t answer the phone? He is cleaning house and it is for the long and short term good of the school. Thank God Isola is gone too. That will greatly help the Athletic program (especially the baseball team ).
      Daly already has the support of the Alumni.

    • sfpatriot says:

      sure he called Blake but the message left on the answering should have been to call back ASAP, not that “your fired”! Daly showed poor taste and no class.

      • Riordan MAN. says:

        If u go 1 and 9 and expect praise your in the wrong field of work.I thing he was afraid to answer that phone..Man up coach and tell the ruth.

  5. Just Curious says:

    I tend to agree with the “apaulled” guy. Love the ironic spelling! This sort of thing isn’t something that should be said over a message. Not everyone is attached to their phone 24/7. Mr. Daly should have waited to tell him personally. Just my opinion. I would think that everyone involved here is fed up with all of the fallout that is infecting all parties. Coach Blake probably deserved more than one year, but he didn’t get it. I say let this die. No need for outsiders to throw gasoline on a smoldering fire. Good luck Riordan. Good luck Coach.

  6. Sunsetdistrict says:

    Mr. Blake is a nice guy, but Mr. Blake was brought in by by someone other than Mr. Daly.

    Mr. Daly is the head man at Riordan, it is his neck on the line, he should and will have the final say as to who represents Riordan. As a graduate of Riordan, I am pleased to know the school has a strong leader willing to make moves. As Mr. Blake states, “it is what it is”.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hire Rob Fung, the Washington baseball coach. That guys a stud, winner and superb coach!

  8. oversite commitee says:

    The right way to do buisness is to bring him in, sit him down, look him in the eye and say your fired! D. Trump style, not leave a voicemail. I agree with appualled, THATS SHADY!!!

    Wheather or not its the right move, we’ll never know. One year with a program this bad isn’t enough time to really know. Dont know this Sweeney guy but apparently Ken Peralta highly recommends him.

    So my questions are, if all the staff can reapply then Blake was the problem not his assistants? Even the fat guy that screams at the kids? Maybe this guy will bring some Canadians down to show us yanks how to play some hockey…i mean football. Humbolt st, Simon Frazor why does a college coach want a struggling HS job in SF? Did he quit? get fired? or just want to be close in case Cal St. East Bay needs a special teams coach..oh wait they dont have football. Must be the salary.

  9. RABBIT says:

    Lets see, Sweeney went to SI, coached at SH and at theJC level——–Hey so did Blake!

    Blake brought in Bugler, who is an excellent coach and Dozier, who led the frosh to a winning season, the rest of the group were holdovers and I am sure he was told to keep them and to not make wholesale changes in his first year. But Sweeney, according to this article can bring in whomever he wants…that is if you believe everything you read.

    As far as the VM issues goes, why would Blake make this up? I agree, he should have called him in, explained the situation, and then told him we are going in another direction. I believe Blake interviewed for the position, why do that if you already had your man?

    • Riordan Fan says:

      Rabbit. Time to move on. Get off the message boards and help Blake type his resume.

    • Riordan MAN. says:

      once again 1 and 9 is horrific and he wants more chances, and i was at the disgrace against S.H. where they let up on Riordan S.H. could of scored 100 on this guy. So god bye and good luck, hope that S.I. diploma will help you in your next job.Hopefully a learn how to coach class.

  10. PURPLEGOLDMAN says:

    THERE IS A GOD..FABBRI IS FINALLY GONE!! HE SHOULD HAVE LEFT WITH LANGRIDGE AND CREW

  11. Ari Gold says:

    Bryan Blake and Mark Fabbri are good people. Sure wins are nice but what I got out of the both of them when they were at SH was personal growth and making a positive difference in society. Football was just an avenue for teaching and growth for them.

  12. GCJ01 says:

    It’s a shame that most of you are saying that Blake should’ve been fired after going 1-9. It’s his first year. The odds of turning a program around in one year, though doable, is very hard. Those of you who ACTUALLY know anything about sports, especially football, would know this. Blake should’ve gotten at least another year. I do not see any of you Blake-haters out their coaching. Can any of you do any better? Obviously not, because you’re sitting in front of your computers blaming and criticizing Blake. Blake INHERITED a poor team. If you were in his shoes, you would’ve wanted one more year as well. It was definately poor class that he got fired via voicemail.

  13. Riordan Fan says:

    If Fabbri was so loved at SH, why doesn’t he apply with Coach Lee. See if Coach Lee wants him yelling and teaching life lessons there!!!!

    • SH ALum says:

      Mark Fabbri was invited to coach by John Lee, however the ADs and administration vetoed the hire. I guess there is still bad blood from when he worked at the school in the late 90s early 2000s…

  14. WCAL ALum says:

    True, Blake, Fabbri and the whole Riordan coaching staff are very good people and knowledgable football people who give plenty to city football. Honestly, the talent and depth were not there at Phelan (for many years). I do give Daley kudos for making the tough decision and breaking a few eggs. He has known these people for over 30 years, but when you are in charge and change is evident, you have to take emotion out of it. All will land on their feet soon enough; nobody needs to feel sorry for any of them.

  15. JJ says:

    at least he wasn’t fired thru facebook.

  16. Manifest Destiny says:

    President Pat Daly has shown great leadership. He has made a difficult decision which I am sure that he firmly believes will put the Riordan football program on the right path. I believe that he would have informed Coach Blake in person if possible. He would not hide from something like that. He is a class act and is trying his best to make positive changes at Riordan High School.

    Coach Blake is a talented high school football scholar with a lot of experience. I am positive that he will land on his feet and enjoy a successful career as a football coach. Riordan supporters should not forget that the one win was against S.I.

    Coach Bugler is a dedicated , hard working guy with a proven track record. He has coached winning or championship varsity football teams at Riordan , S.H. and Mountain View High school. He was an all league outstanding player at S.I. and has been a positive role model to countless high school athletes. Any varsity football program in the Bay Area or beyond would be fortunate to have him on the staff.

    President Daly knows the value of these two men in relation to the success of the Riordan football program, I am sure that he respects their talent and experience but he has made a decision to move in another direction.

  17. I'm just sayin says:

    @ Ari Gold, You must be part of the “EVERYBODY GET’S A RIBBON FOUNDATION”. As far as Riordan Football is concerned, a change was in order you can’t continue to be beaten by 50 every week and expect to receive support from the alum’s. I know several ex Crusader’s that said they would not give one red penny til Ron Isola left. Blake and his staff with the exception of Paul Bugler and Mike Dozier head freshman coach needed to go. Say goodbye to “Jake and the Fat Man” I am from the class of 87′ and would like to see the Purple and Gold get back to their winning ways. Mike Dozier is a great coach and a personal friend of mine we have coached together on several occasions. When he told me that Blake wanted to fire him after delivering a winning season which included wins over Bellerman and St. Francis for the first time in 10-15 years. I knew something wasn’t right.

  18. RABBIT says:

    A true Crusader knows that there is NO such thing as an EX Crusader, “just saying’

  19. city fan says:

    “I’m just sayin” has a good piece of inside scoop there. There were plenty of things going on with Blake and his coaching style (if thats what you want to call it) that many of you don’t know about and if you did, you would not be so shocked or angry that he got canned. How do you slam a great coach like Dozier? A winning coach at that? There is something definitely wrong with that picture.

  20. True Crusader says:

    And a true Crusader doesn’t go on NCP and on this board, to bad mouth their former school and new administration. While everyone is entitled to their opinion and have the right to express it, you are speaking with a forked tongue. You claim you do not know Blake and have never met Daly yet you claim to be at the school often enough to know nothing has changed. Either you are a good friend of Blake’s or spend no time at the school, and if you do, you obviously don’t contribute anything towards the betterment of our Alma mater. The school has lacked leadership for several years and we finally have a leader willing to make decisions. The school took a quantum leap forward in Daly’s first year. You will see in next years enrollment numbers the immediate impact he has made. The boarding program will enhance the school immensely. The school is being marketed effectively. A true leader puts the right people in the right position to be successful and surrounds himself with proven winners he trusts. So while you believe Blake is a good guy and should be given more time, Daly doesn’t. All the folks at Riordan are good guys, doesn’t mean they are a good fit for their position. The old adage states if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem. For all of us True Crusaders who are involved with our alma mater, we know who the new AD and assistant AD are, it is common knowledge around the school so maybe next time you “come by” you should introduce yourself to Daly, join the Alumni Board and make a positive difference in the lives of the young men of Riordan. If you choose not to, you have no business complaining.

    • Fan says:

      I have an incoming freshman and two fine young men that have both graduated from Riordan (2005 & 2010) and I look forward to the change under the leadership of Mr. Daly.

  21. Riordan Alum says:

    True Crusader, you make all of your Crusader brothers proud with your eloquent statement of the facts. Much of the ongoing conversation regarding this issue or any of the other changes being made at ARHS are futile attempts to protect the status quo. The only constant in the universe is change. There are those who embrace it and those who fear it. I know that there are many amoung us who embrace it. There is a reason why Mr. Daly has come to 175 Phelan Avenue. We wish him and all those who endeavor to make Riordan the premier option for educating catholic young men in San Francisco, our heartfelt gratitude and continued support.

  22. I'm just sayin says:

    @Rabbit and True Crusader, I didn’t bad mouth my beloved Crusader family just the bad element that is holding us back. Something had to be done, if he kids don’t like the coaches they will not give their all. Football is a tough game you can’t expect positive attitudes from your players when there is no reward. Getting your but kicked gets old.

  23. True Crusader says:

    My comment was directed at Rabbit only.

  24. RABBIT says:

    I am honored that you and all the rest who have taken the time to read my posts and respond to them………….. and dare I say, get emotianlly involved in them…to all of you, I say thanks!

    Have a great BBQ today.

    • Crusader Supporter says:

      Rabbit boy, you defend Jeff Isola and Blake like you are related to them……………………………..Jeff had the job quietly handed to him by the former head coach and AD, who is his dad! Did they post that job opening? How many people did they interview? The baseball teams have been real bad for so long it is a travesty. Only a head coach who is his own boss could have retained that job for decades of ineptitude.
      Just because some of the football coaches are nice guys doesn’t mean they are good coaches. Look at the record. Is Bugler coaching for SH or RIordan this year. sh, riordan, sh, riordan,….It is sh’s turn!
      Rabbit, your spelling is HORRIBLE

  25. RABBIT says:

    FUBOO< Crusader Supporter and the rest,

    I offfered my opinion, constructive critcism, and I guess bad spelling here, but I never bad mouthed a former crusader as far as I know. But if I did, why is that so wrong? Are we above everyone here? are we too sensitive to criticism? We all want Riordan to a better place, we just have a difference of opinion on how that is accomplished. We definatley needed to change, I will be the first to say that, but I heard and saw things that were in my opinon, shady.
    As far as Blake and Isola are concerned, that is apples and oranges and we all know that. If you do not like Blake because he is a jerk, so be it, just say it, own it. But don't say he is not a good coach and was given a fair chance by Daly. One and done was not the right thing to do, nor the fair thing to do.
    If you do not have the horses, you cannot win, Blake did not have the horses and neither will Sweeney. Will all of you be calling for his head after he goes 1-9?

  26. oversite commitee says:

    Anyone know if any of the old staff is being retained?

  27. I'm just sayin says:

    I here the head freshmen coach is returning he did a great job, hopefully they get wise and put him on that Varsity staff. Great offensive mind

  28. RABBIT says:

    So Tell me FUBOOOOOOOOO, …………….how was the BBQ?

  29. 80's crusader says:

    Why would you delete my comment? Had no violence, racism, libel, or profanity. Simply an opinion from someone who was there.

  30. PURPLE & GOLD says:

    SO HAPPY WITH THE NEWS THE FRESHMAN TEAM NOW HAS A BRIGHTER FUTURE!!!

    • RABBIT says:

      FYI Purple and Gold………………Mike Dozier was brought in by Coach Blake.

      • Crusader Supporter says:

        Heeeeey Wabbit! Hundreds and Hundreds! Was Blake intending to keep Dozier after this season????? And are you re–applying with Sweeney? He is looking forward to interviewing you I am sure!

        • RABBIT says:

          hundreds and hundreds huh? why dont you tell the truth and let everyone here really know what happened to the BBQ…. time to come clean.

      • Anonymous says:

        hey rabbit and I bet Dozier comes back!!

  31. RABBIT says:

    Dozier bolted SH for Riordan, whether or not Blake intended to keep Dozier is not important, the fact he left SH and came to Riordan BECAUSE of BLAKE sums it up it quite nicely. AS for me re-applying, not sure how I can re-apply if I never coached on Blake’s staff. I am not who you think I am.

    how was it coaching with Dozier last year on hte freshman staff?
    How did your interview go? J S?

  32. I'm just sayin says:

    Dozier is a proven winner the only reason he left SH is because Blake gave him a chance to be a head coach, If not for that he would have stayed at SH. John Lee is a great guy, Mike Dozier speaks highly of him. Once the freshmen started to have success Blake immediately turned on Coach Dozier and stopped speaking to him and then told the Freshmen staff to stay off his sideline during games. Actually this doesn’t come as a shock he’s he same guy that refused to shake hands with the Inderkum head coach following another beat down. I’m not a coach just a friend of a friend and a parent that wants his kid to have great football experience.

    • RABBIT says:

      If that is true about not talking to Dozier and telling the freshman coaches to stay off the sidelines, then Blake has a problem.

      THE WABBIT was not aware of this, I too am not a football coach but just a friend of a friend who knows him, I guess I was no privy to every little thing.

  33. go_crusaders says:

    enought! can we just move forward! let’s not kid ourselves, archbishop riordan had to OVERHAUL the entire athletic program because it was stuck in the 70′s way of running a sports program and things had to change.
    looking forward to next season and beyond! it was nice to see the crusaders take the diii football title a few years ago, but they basically caught lightning in a bottle over two seasons, nothing sustainable that you see in the other football programs in the wcal. go crusaders!

  34. Purple & Gold says:

    News Flash Rabbit!! Dozier is coming back!!
    I’m Just Saying – speaks the truth, I witnessed Blake talking down to the freshmen players and the freshmen Coaches, what an example? “I coach from the top down ” Blake’s Words

    So I say Are you Ready For some Football??????????
    Haters are Going to Hate & Players are going to PLAY!!
    Good Luck to the new coaches and the Riordan Football Teams

  35. Rex Jones says:

    Go Riordan!!! The future looks bright.

  36. Riordan "investor" says:

    Great to have new blood and vision. Enrollment of scholar/athletes is the key to success. Had one son play two years of football with no wins. Another three years and two wins. The program is dying and we have time to revive it. Baseball same story and BBall is hanging on by a thread. Riordan should be a success in soccer given the student base – can anyone at Riordan spell Soccer. Track is a joke but improving.

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