Jon Heinz has been hired to take over the boys basketball program at Clovis High, and the Clovis Unified product is certainly familiar with the landscape he’s about to enter.
Heinz, who spent 12 years coaching in the Clovis West boys program under Tom Orlich after playing for him from 2002-04, is ready to hit the ground running, fully aware of the level of competition in the TRAC.
“It’s a dream come true to coach in Clovis Unified and in such a competitive league such as the TRAC,” said Heinz, who will also teach P.E. and English. “To be the head coach of a program at a school that has so much athletic tradition is a great honor.”
Heinz spent the last two years as head coach at Caruthers High School, where he reached the Central Section Division V final in his first season in 2017 and won a league title in 2018.
“I’m very excited to develop the talent that we have in the Clovis area,” said Heinz, who attended Nelson Elementary and Kastner Intermediate before Clovis West. “I’m looking forward to the challenge that our league presents and hope to establish a comprehensive K-12 program that the community can be proud of.”
Heinz will take over a program that had a 26-game league losing streak from 2016-18 and finished 2018 with a 14-14 overall record and 2-8 in league under Cory Fischer. Fischer took over for Wil Hooker who registered a 22-37 record from 2014-17.
However, Heinz has learned from the best and credits Orlich as the most influential basketball figure in his life along with Dave Parker, his former youth pastor he coached the freshman team with. Orlich guided Clovis West to a 311-99 record, eight conference titles, eight sectional final appearances and the CIF Southern California Regional Championship in 2006.
“Tom taught me what it meant to be a leader, role model, and teacher to young student athletes,” Heinz says. “He taught me core values such as loyalty and the importance of creating relationships.”
The team will have to balance the loss of senior guards Caleb Malalis and Clovis all-time leading scorer Anthony Martinez.
In regards to the style of play he will bring to Clovis, Heinz said his team will be versatile both offensively and defensively with their half-court defense being the backbone and will “create a competitive culture in which teammates push and challenge each other while still wholeheartedly supporting one another.”
Heinz is looking forward to the challenge of entering a coaching fraternity that’s a who’s who of coaching greats.
“It’s extremely humbling to know the company I will be coaching amongst – these are all men I’ve grown to admire,” Heinz says. “Vance (Walberg, Clovis West) and Tony (Amundsen, Clovis North) are guys that I grew up playing for at Clovis West, and Adrian (Wiggins, Clovis East) and Pat (Geil, Buchanan) are guys that I’ve had the pleasure of watching develop programs at a high level. As a competitor, these are the types of coaches that you want to challenge yourself against.”