Evans to be ‘the face’ of soccer at Lake Tahoe Community College
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Jeremy Evans is busy this spring getting ready for the fall soccer season at Lake Tahoe Community College.
Evans, who coached the Lady Coyotes team to the state championship game last year and unprecedented success, has taken over the successful men’s program as well for the 2019 season after former coach Nicholas Arbelaez left to oversee the men’s and women’s programs at Truckee Meadows Community College.
He has put in a lot of hours trying to integrate himself with players on the men’s team.
“It’s a bit of a monumental task,” Evans said. “But we’re pretty much through the transition. The big headaches are scheduling preseason games and trying to get the men and women lined up together and also training, with the teams going back-to-back and they each respond differently.”
Evans said he didn’t lobby for the new responsibilities, but was approached by new athletic director Steve Berry who asked if he was open to the idea of coaching both programs.
Berry, who has been the AD for about four months after spending five years at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village, has seen the benefits of one soccer coach leading both programs from his time in admissions and recruiting at Kansas Wesleyan University.
“I’ve seen the model and I’ve seen positive effects, like program consistency and budget savings with spring travel and the teams playing together,” Berry said. “The departure of Nick gave us an opportunity to look at our structure. When I stepped in I looked at how much money we were spending and I thought we could save and re-invest back into the program.
“Jeremy, he’s reputable in South Lake Tahoe, he’s had a lot of success, he has connections and great ability to recruit, it was a no-brainer to try and get him on campus more,” Berry added. “He can now become the face of soccer at LTCC.”
Evans didn’t jump immediately at the idea. He brought the conversation home to his wife and together they decided.
“I ended up walking away from a tenured job with the school district,” Evans said. “My heart is here in Tahoe. I love to bike, climb and ski, it’s a great opportunity. I look at it as one program.”
With Evans taking the job, it stabilizes the men’s program and Berry and the college don’t have to go through the rigorous process of hiring another coach.
The process could take several months and, with the team in transition, many of the athletes could have chosen another school.
“It helps keep the team together and the recruits here,” Berry said. “Going through the process of hiring a new coach is time consuming and the recruits could have looked elsewhere. We probably would have had to rebuild with a brand new coach.”
Evans said he has made contact with the players and that they have responded very well.
Evans is excited because Arbelaez recruited very well and the cupboard is stocked. A successful run this fall is expected.
“The men’s side has lots of sophomores returning,” Evans said. “Typically you like to stagger, but with guys who were injured or didn’t have the grades to play last year, they are back this year and we’ve got a super talented group.”
Now Evans and Arbelaez will be coveting similar athletes. The friends who worked closely for several seasons, will now compete for players.
“I had a great working relationship with Nick and we got along really well,” Evans said. “We both respect each other a ton. I think we’re selling two different things, but I still intend to recruit Las Vegas and Reno.”
Evans has worked with and coached boys as director of soccer for the South Tahoe Futbol Club before going on to lead the Lady Vikings of South Tahoe High School to several state championships.
“Coaching women was my opportunity to get into this profession and the bulk of my experience has been with the women, but I’m totally comfortable with the men and I’m all in with these players,” Evans said.
Evans has reached out to others who have coached two programs to receive feedback and get advice.
Their No. 1 response was to make sure everything is structured.
“Otherwise I’ll burn out,” Evans said. “I just want to make sure the dream job doesn’t turn into a nightmare.”
Evans will have help for the third straight year from sports performance specialist Nicole Vandehurst, of Elevate Wellness Center, and assistant coach Tomaz Marinelli returns for the second year.
Evans said Vandehurst is interested in taking on a larger role and Tomaz will coordinate recruiting and compile a database.
“It takes a village to be successful,” Evans said. “Having Tomaz back helping me — if I’m the engine, he’s the vehicle that makes everything go.”