St. Vincent de Paul High School in Petaluma is proud to announce Tom Bonfigli as the Varsity Head Coach for Men’s Basketball. Coach Bonfigli is the most accomplished basketball coach in the North Bay. In 38 seasons, his teams have earned 17 league championships, 2 NCS championships, 2 NorCal championships and accumulated a remarkable 816 wins. While those wins place Coach Bonfigli 8th all-time in the state of California, what he has truly achieved is a lifetime of relationships and positive impact on the lives of his students and players.
The numbers are staggering. His teams have won 54 sectional or Norcal playoff games and went to the state tournament seven times. He is the only individual in the Redwood Empire to coach a team to 30+ wins. He did it four times — 1989, 1993, 2013 and 2016. No matter how impressive, these numbers are only eclipsed by his determination, work ethic, integrity and Catholic faith.
Tom will lead St. Vincent’s basketball program as it enters its inaugural season in the North Bay League this Fall. Wearing the school colors of red, white and blue, the coach and teacher declared, “We can and will build something special at St. Vincent’s.”
St. Vincent de Paul High School Principal Patrick W. Daly commented, “An important commitment to our students, their families and our alums is to continually elevate the quality of our teachers and coaches. The National Federation of High Schools had just named Tom the 2019 California Coach of the Year. This is a tremendous opportunity to bring an impactful coach to our school.” Daly continued, “Tom is an incredible teacher and role model. In fact, in 2016 he was awarded the Bishop’s Award for excellence. This recognition is presented annually to only one teacher in the Diocese of Santa Rosa. Our Diocese extends from Petaluma north to the Oregon border.”
“I have complete confidence in the vision of Principal Daly at St. Vincent de Paul High School. Success starts at the top,” Tom added. “Under his leadership and building on its academic reputation, Mr. Daly has St. Vincent’s pointed in the right direction. For motivated students and athletes, there is no better environment than to be surrounded by high quality teachers and committed coaches who have chosen to work in a small school atmosphere.”
Tom attended St. Rose Elementary and Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa before graduating from Santa Clara University. He is a product of Catholic schools which he credits for his high standards and demanding teaching style. This has created his deep appreciation for the importance of Catholic Schools for building success in college and beyond.
“Teaching is about relationships more so than methodology, that has not changed in my 44 years,” Tom shared. “In the classroom, there is a steep learning curve for teachers and students every day. I lead by example; strive for and demand excellence. When students are convinced that you care about them as people, that creates a solid foundation of respect, trust and growth.”
“In my classroom, I help students to read comprehensively, develop good habits, work hard and deliver consistent quality. They will speak and write critically, learn to logically argue and to defend a position with an open mind,” Mr. Bonfigli added. “It is critical that they deeply understand WHAT they believe and WHY they believe it.”
With regards to athletics, Coach Bonfigli shared these thoughts about his intentions for the St. Vincent’s basketball program. With conviction, he stated, “On the floor, we will create a culture of physical, emotional and mental toughness. We will play team basketball the right way with no substitute for hard work on offense and defense before, during and in between seasons.”
He continued by discussing the expectations for his players. “They will compete during every practice and every game to the best of their ability. My athletes will be disciplined, coachable and unselfish because they know that team success is paramount. I want them to listen, learn, constantly improve and play hard. Most importantly, I want them to enjoy the experience.”
St. Vincent’s is the school that delivers the most challenging, yet personally engaging experience. With a 100+ year tradition of excellence, we deliver a rigorous academic program that features the highest graduation requirements in Sonoma and Marin counties. SVHS graduates consistently earn exceptional academic outcomes. Rafael Velez, Chair of the Board of Regents for the St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Schools, stated “The Board expects high academic standards and integrity. Students come to St. Vincent’s for five reasons: academic reputation, quality co-curricular activities, a great high school experience, a small school atmosphere and a values-based education. In speaking with Tom, and more importantly, listening to him, he brings truly unique talents, faithful experience and the unwavering commitment to positively impact our students.”
Mr. Bonfigli is particularly well-suited to serve as a teacher and coach in a Catholic, college preparatory, small school environment. He will develop close personal relationships with students and families which may last a lifetime. Tom continued, “Faith is the most important gift we can give our young people. God should be in evidence everywhere in our school, in the classroom, on the field or court and visible to the wider community. We must constantly work to deepen this most important relationship with a purpose to serve.”
Coach Bonfigli concluded, “An excellent program is not built in weeks or months — we will set reasonable and attainable goals. We will develop a good plan, be positive, focus on God and one another…and then work, work, work. I always admired the well-known UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. His pyramid of success represents values and supporting attributes that he believed were prerequisites for athletes to perform at the highest level of which they are capable. Properly executed, it can bring success to both individuals and teams. We will build a culture of success. Patience is critical, good things take time.”