Boys' basketball coach of the year: Christian Dunbar of Eagle Rock

Christian Dunbar is the basketball coach at Eagle Rock.
Christian Dunbar led Eagle Rock to its third City Section boys' basketball title in 10 years. (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Wearing a brown suit, brown tie, white shirt and black dress shoes, Christian Dunbar sat calmly in his chair as the noise in the gym grew louder and the intensity level of his Eagle Rock players kept rising as they tried to fight off South Gate in the City Section Division II championship game.

Pressure was growing, urgency was rising, and yet Dunbar refused to change his demeanor. He was sending a message to his players.

"I figure if I'm calm, the guys will stay calm," he said.

Eagle Rock defeated South Gate 53-49 to win its third title in 10 years under Dunbar, but this one was his most satisfying because the Eagles lost their best player to a knee injury Dec. 19 and had to regroup before they ended their City Section season with a 14-game winning streak.

For being able to adjust and get the most of his players, Dunbar has been selected The Times' boys' basketball coach of the year.

He's a former head coach at Chatsworth and Mission Hills Bishop Alemany. He secured a P.E. teaching position at Eagle Rock and hasn't left, continually finding ways to win with his group of neighborhood kids, many of them two-sport athletes. A couple of football players helped the team this season.

"They brougth that toughness to our basketball team," he said.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.