One month after accepting the resignation of Randy Fasani, Ripon Christian announced the hiring of Phil Grams as its new head football coach on Friday.
Grams is no stranger to the region and knows a thing or two about building a small-school powerhouse — he initiated a decade of dominance for Capital Christian of Sacramento, going 48-11 from 2011-16. In that time, the Cougars claimed four straight Golden Empire League championships and the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI title in 2014.
A proponent of the fly offense, Grams spent the last three years in Wisconsin serving as offensive coordinator for NCAA Division III Lawrence University. Prior to his tenure at Capital, he was an assistant coach at Granite Bay High for 10 years.
“Throughout the process, Coach Grams' experience, expertise and knowledge were only exceeded by his passion for the game of football as well as walking alongside young men as they grow and develop in their faith,” Ripon Christian athletic director Kevin Tameling stated in a press release. “This combination will make for an excellent fit in the Ripon Christian community.”
Grams was MaxPreps Northern California Small School Coach of the Year in 2014, when the team had its run ended by eventual state champion Central Catholic in the California Interscholastic Federation NorCal Division IV Bowl Game. Incidentally, Ripon Christian was among the Cougars' postseason conquests that season, routing the Knights 56-13 in the second round of SJS play.
Ripon Christian has been established as a name program in its own right, but the two-time defending Southern Athletic League champion is 0-3 in section finals.
Grams inherits a team that went 11-1 last fall and 8-2 at the varsity level. The Knights' lone loss was to Hilmar in the SJS Division VI semifinals. Fasani's second stint with Ripon Christian lasted the one season, as he and his family decided to move back to Placer County where he starred as quarterback for Del Oro in the late 1990s before moving onto Stanford and the NFL.
Grams is the sixth head coach for Ripon Christian, which goes into its 17th varsity season.
“Ripon Christian Schools is an impressive community; they live what they believe,” Grams said in the release. “I am super excited about the opportunity to continue the success of the Knights football program. Most of all, I am looking forward to being part of a school where we connect faith and learning while serving God and others.”