Resident Feature

Meet Jim Croy

A Life Rooted in Northgate

Jim Croy was an all-star athlete at Northgate High School in the 90’s and returned to his roots four years ago to coach the girls basketball team.

After graduating from Northgate HS in 1993 playing basketball for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Westmont College, he pursued a career in finance, working for 18 years at AssetMark Financial Services. In 2014 he left that career to focus on his passion for basketball, opening Elevate Basketball & Performance Training in Concord where he trains athletes of all ages. “I decided to take a risk and chase my dreams,” Jim says. Then in 2017 he became Northgate’s girls basketball coach. “It has been a great experience returning to Northgate and coaching and making memories with so many great kids…many of whom I have coached since elementary school,” adds Jim. He also has the pleasure of coaching his own two daughters, Jaley who is a senior and Josie who is a sophomore. In addition to running his business and coaching at Northgate, he also teaches P.E. at Contra Costa School of Performing Arts. 

Last year the Northgate girls team finished 12-4 in the Covid shortened season, had four players named to All League honors, and the team was recognized with one of the top three team GPA’s in the North Coast Section. The team is off to another great start and currently has a record of 8-2 overall as they head into league play. Senior Tegan Gaines has committed to play next year for Cal State Stanislaus on a basketball scholarship. Coach Croy is proud of her, adding, “It has been an amazing journey for Tegan as she overcame a terrible knee injury the very first game of her sophomore season. She is fully recovered and was named First Team All League last season and recorded the first quadruple double in the history of Northgate basketball.” 

Setting records is something Jim is familiar with. As a four year varsity player himself from 1990-1993 he was the all time leader in points scored (1660) and career rebounds (890). In his senior year the team was undefeated in league play and advanced to the state Nor Cal semifinals. He was named All-League three times, including league MVP twice and was the Walnut Festival Scholar Athlete in 1993. 

Jim returned to the Northgate area in 1998 after finishing college and soon after married Maryann, who is also a Northgate graduate. Maryann played three sports at Northgate and currently is a teacher at Pleasant Hill Elementary School. In addition to basketball, both daughters also swim and play water polo (Jaley will be swimming for Cal Baptist University next year.). Jim loves spending time with his family and coaching, and when he can do both at the same time, all the better! He’s coached for Walnut Creek Soccer Club and St. John Vianney’s CYO Basketball. His brother, Rick Croy who was the captain of Northgate’s 1995 State Championship team, is also a basketball coach, leading the Cal Baptist University team. Jim’s mom, Sandi Foster, and his stepdad still live in Walnut Creek and are regulars at their grandkids’ sporting events. 

Jim’s coaching philosophy goes beyond basketball skills; his goal is for his athletes to learn the importance of hard work and togetherness to provide life skills that will benefit all of their future endeavors. As senior Kristin Sanders says, “I have played for Coach Jim for 8 years, and I have learned so much about basketball and life in general from him…He brings out the best in us, and he has helped me build my confidence on and off the court. I am so grateful to be part of it and to have aleader and mentor in my life like Jim.” 

Like Jim, many Northgate HS coaches have been former players and graduates of Northgate, linking generations together through their mutual love of this community. As Jim says, “There are so many people that I grew up with and attended local schools with that have returned to the Northgate community…We have a lot of great people that give so much of their time to make this a better place to live and provide opportunity for our kids.” 

He hopes to see you in the stands. You can find the girls basketball schedule on maxpreps.com. 


Do you know a neighbor who has a story to share? Nominate your neighbor to be featured in one of our upcoming issues! Contact us at knavolio@bestversionmedia.com. 

By Kara Navolio, Resident since 1991