Dawn of a New Era


Gordon Gebauer and Gordon Gebauer

We all know that in the past few years some of Terra Linda’s varsity teams have not been up to par. Specifically basketball and football. However, there are new head coaches who plan on bringing new light to TL. These coaches are boys’ varsity basketball Coach Neil Caynan and varsity football Coach Rich Cotruvo.

Last season, long time boys’ varsity basketball head coach Steve Farbstein retired after 31 years of coaching at Terra Linda. His replacement is head coach Neil Caynan, who previously coached at Marin Academy as well as Marin Catholic. He has a big role to fill in Farbstein’s absence. Although Caynan was not available for an interview, he has big plans for the Terra Linda Trojans basketball program according to Coach Connor Renk. Coach Renk is another addition to the coaching staff this year. When asked about how they planned on changing the program, Coach Renk responded, “We plan on bringing this program back to it’s winning ways. We want to make the playoffs, have a winning season, grow closer as a team, and overall just have a bunch of fun.”

The boys’ basketball team is coming off of a disappointing season last year where their overall record was 8-18. Many say that this was the result of poor leadership. Seniors are supposed to be the leaders of the team. However, this was not the case since the team was lead by three sophomores and three juniors. According to senior Joe Diaz, “Due to a lack of communication we did not know the right path to take. We were questioning everything and didn’t know what was right from wrong. It was very important for us to realize that if someone holds a position of leadership it doesn’t necessarily mean that they should. This is why the juniors and sophomores put matters into their own hands and tried to set an example.” With more experience, the five returners Dom Martinez, Joe Diaz, Roddy Marshall, Dominic Bustillos, and Matt Peters plan on setting an example on and off the court. According to junior Dom Martinez, “I think one of the main reasons for our disappointing season was the lack of leadership. Specifically the seniors. I remember one practice last year where our team captain walked out of our practice.” Martinez is talking about former teammate Patrick O’Sullivan, who was the “captain of the team”, yet he failed to provide proper leadership for his team.

Although last season had its struggles, players are optimistic about the upcoming season. According to senior Roddy Marshall, “This year’s team has been getting in the weightroom everyday. We’ve also been having lots of open gyms. We are working together and I feel that we are a really tight group. The new coach is getting us real fired up this year. Last year we weren’t working out together during the offseason. I think that’s the main difference between last year’s team and this year’s team.”

Coach Farbstein had an amazing run of 31 years with the Trojans. However, It is always good to have a new coaching staff that has a fresh view on a program.

Last year, the Terra Linda Varsity Football team’s overall record was 4-7. Some schools may view that as a decent season. Terra Linda is not one of these schools. After last season, there was a major change in the football program. A whole new coaching staff took over the team. With new coaches, players hope that they can put last season behind them and focus on bringing home pennants.

Taking over the role of head coach is Rich Cotruvo. Cotruvo was previously the head coach for Justin-Siena. Cotruvo says he came to TL because, “I wanted to continue my career and Terra Linda offered me the job, so I accepted.” The winning culture for Terra Linda Football has been missing in recent years. When asked about how he planned on changing the winning culture here at TL, Cotruvo responded, “Nobody can do it by themselves. I tried to hire the best coaches available to help the young student athletes here understand the difference between recreational athletics and competitive athletics. Our goals for the season are to be competitive every game, not to worry about the scoreboard or our record, to improve as a team, to play unselfishly, to play together, and to enjoy the journey.”

With the new coaching staff, players are feeling optimistic this season. senior Corey Swenson states, “We’re more motivated towards a common goal. We won’t accept mediocrity. Also, we’re more focused everywhere–in practice and in the classrooms. Leadership has also grown. We lead more by example and we’re all on board with each other.”

“Last years coaching staff was pretty negative overall. The work ethic was pretty low and they didn’t require much from us. This year we are committed and are putting in more work to be successful,” States junior Matt Peters on how this year’s team is distinguishing itself from last year’s. It is important to note that for a team to be better than average a well motivated coaching staff is key. As Peters stated, the work ethic last year was almost non-existent.  

The coaching staff has brought tremendous change to this program. This is only the beginning of a new era here at Terra Linda. “The new offense that coach has brought in has been good. We’ve adapted to it quickly and it has become a lot more successful than last year’s scheme,” States Senior Heyner Gongora. The team has started off the year 2-2 (1-1 in MCAL), including an impressive 47-13 win over Drake.

Both of Terra Linda’s teams are looking to bounce back from last year’s disappointing season. With the addition of new coaches that will offer a fresh look on the way things are run, Terra Linda should be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.