Former STHS coach surpasses 700-win mark
Wins 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500 came at South Tahoe High School, and Tom Orlich shows no signs of slowing down at Clovis Waest High near Fresno, Calif.
Orlich earned his 700th career coaching victory on Dec. 29 when his Golden Eagles dispatched Agoura, Calif., 69-59 in Santa Barbara. The former STHS coach has added two more wins since reaching that milestone.
Nearly a decade has elapsed since Orlich coached his last basketball game at South Tahoe High. After a brief hiatus from coaching, Orlich has spent the past seven years directing the Golden Eagles.
Even though Orlich hasn’t coached in a Nevada league since the 1999-2000 season, his 422 victories rank sixth on the all-time win list for all classifications. Orlich also recorded 99 wins as a California league member while beginning his coaching career at South Tahoe.
It is unlikely that all 521 wins that Orlich accumulated at South Tahoe will count toward his total in California, even though his former school is located in California.
Mike Phelps, who coached St. Joseph of Alameda and Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland, owns the state record with 843 victories. That record will soon fall as Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight took 839 career wins into Tuesday’s game at Westminster.
McKnight recently passed longtime Santa Clara coach Lou Cvijanovich for the CIF Southern Section lead. Cvijanovich notched 829 wins while coaching at the Oxnard, Calif., school from 1958-1999.
The national record belongs to retired coach Robert Hughes, who amassed 1,333 wins during 47 seasons at I.M. Terrell and Dunbar in Fort Worth, Texas.
Joe Aiello, athletic director at Clovis West, said the school plans to honor Orlich later this month.
“We are planning to do a ceremony on Jan. 29 to honor this milestone,” he said.