Long­time coach head­ing to hall of fame

Tala­mantes-Ris­tow has been a fix­ture at Ho­gan High, Jesse Bethel and Solano Col­lege

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - FRONT PAGE - By Thomas Gase [email protected]­aldon­line.com @tga­sevth on Twit­ter

Af­ter a suc­cess­ful high school ca­reer play­ing bas­ket­ball at Pe­taluma High, Ann Tala­man­tesRis­tow was at a cross­roads when she got hurt in 1986 with a knee in­jury dur­ing her first sea­son at Santa Rosa Ju­nior Col­lege.

“Yeah I’ve been think­ing about that pe­riod of my life, that fork in the road a lit­tle,” Tala­mantes-Ris­tow said last week. “When I hurt my knee I thought, that’s it for me and bas­ket­ball.”

Thank­fully for thou­sands of stu­dent ath­letes in the area, Tala­mantes-Ris­tow turned a bad break into a very good one and af­ter con­tem­plat­ing briefly about be­com­ing an ath­letic trainer, she de­cided to be­come a coach. It’s in that field she made a huge im­pact coach­ing bas­ket­ball, bad­minton, vol­ley­ball and soft­ball at Ho­gan and Jesse Bethel high schools as well as Solano Com­mu­nity Col­lege.

Although her coach­ing ca­reer has led her down more roads than AAA, her ex­ploits teach­ing young women and men over the past three decades will guide her in March to the Dan Fo­ley Cul­tural Cen­ter where she will be in­ducted into the Vallejo Sports Hall of Fame.

Tala­mantes-Ris­tow served as Ho­gan High’s girls head bas­ket­ball coach from 1996 to 2011, when the school closed. In that time she was named 2004 Times

Her­ald Coach of the Year, the same sea­son she took the Spartans to the SacJoaquin Sec­tion fi­nals, a feat du­pli­cated in 2006. She also helped the Bethel High girls bad­minton team win league ti­tles in 2012 and 2013 and has been an as­sis­tant coach for the Solano Col­lege women's bas­ket­ball team that has won con­fer­ence cham­pi­onships in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2019.

Although Tala­man­tesRis­tow is get­ting hon­ored, she says the ma­jor­ity of the credit should go to her play­ers. In fact, when the long­time coach got the call she would be in­ducted, she was sur­prised be­cause she thought it was to tell her she had suc­ceeded in get­ting a player in­ducted.

“I had been work­ing with some peo­ple with GVRD and I was rec­om­mend­ing all these girls that had once played for me,” Tala­mantes-Ris­tow said. “But then when they called they asked for my bio. I thought, ‘Well, why do they need my bio?' So I was very sur­prised, but hon­ored of course … Be­ing in­volved with so many dif­fer­ent kids over the years in so many dif­fer­ent as­pects is what I've re­ally en­joyed about coach­ing.”

Two of the best teams she would coach came in 2004 and 2006 with the Ho­gan High girls bas­ket­ball pro­gram. Both times the Spartans were ranked No. 11 in the bracket, but both times the teams sur­prised many and made it to ARCO Arena. She said 11 be­came her lucky num­ber to those events.

“We had come a long way in the pro­gram, be­cause my first year we didn't win a game un­til the last game of the sea­son against Vallejo,” the coach said. “To go from that to be­ing sec­ond in the sec­tion was great. But those teams (2004, 2006) were so fo­cused. They were al­ways ask­ing ques­tions dur­ing time­outs and show­ing up to prac­tice on time.”

Tala­mantes-Ris­tow said coach­ing at ARCO — the for­mer home of the Kings — was a great ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It was kind of sur­real,” she said. “It was al­ways the goal back then to get to ARCO Arena. That was the cul­mi­na­tion for ev­ery­one, but then we also had NorCals. So we would play the sec­tion ti­tle game, but af­ter the game I would have to tell our play­ers, ‘Ac­tu­ally, we still have more games to play.'”

Tala­mantes-Ris­tow also coached JV soft­ball for four years and JV vol­ley­ball for five years. She was ac­tiv­i­ties di­rec­tor from 2000 to 2011 and ath­letic di­rec­tor from 1999 to 2005 and again in 2010-11. She was to Ho­gan High what candy is for Hal­loween.

So when Ho­gan closed in 2011, the coach took it hard.

“I was ac­tiv­i­ties di­rec­tor and ath­letic di­rec­tor there so it filled a big spot in my life,” Tala­mantes-Ris­tow said. “It was like I had a child to nur­ture but then it had gone away.”

As hard as the de­ci­sion to close the school was, Tala­mantes-Ris­tow said one good thing about the clo­sure is she was given first choice where to teach and coach next. She chose Bethel, where she has seen plenty of suc­cess coach­ing the bad­minton team to two league ti­tles.

At the same time she also be­gan work at Solano Col­lege, serv­ing as an as­sis­tant to head women's bas­ket­ball coach, Matt Borchert. Tala­mantes-Ris­tow said she en­joys be­ing able to coach some play­ers who were once op­po­nents or were play­ers she only saw as stu­dents when they were at Jesse Bethel.

“At Solano, you only have two years as op­posed to Ho­gan where you would have a lot of the girls for four years,” Tala­man­tesRis­tow said. “So you have less time to teach and ex­e­cute what you want in the pro­gram. It's much more ad­vanced, but also more fun­da­men­tal. But I like work­ing with all the other coaches there. It's been great learn­ing from them and hav­ing my thoughts and in­put backed up by them. That's been very re­ward­ing.”

Borchert said he's glad Tala­mantes-Ris­tow is headed to the hall of fame and that “she's been a fan­tas­tic per­son and fun to be around” while at Solano.

“She's cre­ative and in­no­va­tive and is al­ways stay­ing up with the times,” Borchert said. “She re­lates to ev­ery­one in gen­eral and comes up with great ideas for mo­ti­va­tion. She's a good role model for all of our play­ers over the years. She's a great coach to talk to on the road trips we take. She's also great at keep­ing track of things like time­outs, player fouls and such. She's been a steady pres­ence for us since she got here.”

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Known for her coach­ing at Ho­gan High, Jesse Bethel and Solano Col­lege, Ann Tala­mantes-Ris­tow is headed to the Vallejo Sports Hall of Fame.

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