Longtime coach heading to hall of fame
Talamantes-Ristow has been a fixture at Hogan High, Jesse Bethel and Solano College
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.”
Known for her coaching at Hogan High, Jesse Bethel and Solano College, Ann Talamantes-Ristow is headed to the Vallejo Sports Hall of Fame.