New coach gets green light to lead Vikings |

New coach gets green light to lead Vikings

Ryan Buchan, Tribune intern

Thursday will be the first time that the South Tahoe High School football team will get a chance to play for new head coach Kevin Hennessee.

The team plays its first game against Dayton on Aug. 29, and the players did not get a chance to meet their coach until July 31, when he came up for a day from Southern California to have a meeting with the team.

“It is going to take hard work,” said Hennessee, who was approved by the Lake Tahoe Unified School District board by a 4-0 vote Tuesday night. “Kids are going to have to be open to learning, and we are just going to have to do an amazing job teaching.”

Assistant coach Mike Gorman said he thinks the team will be able to pull it off.

“The offense we were going to put in we learned in short amount of time,” Gorman said. “There is no reason we can’t learn what he wants to do.”

Hennessee said he is unsure if the limited time to prepare with his team will affect his unit on game day.

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“I can’t tell you that until I see these guys practice in pads,” Hennessee said. “Who knows, these guys may be fast learners and we will be ahead of the curve.”

Hennessee said he plans on bringing a zone running scheme with a spread offense.

He added that he plans on only running a few plays in many different formations, but he does not know if the team will focus on the run or the pass.

“Ask me if I am a run guy or pass guy first: It depends,” Hennessee said. “It depends on what we do best.”

With the new head coach, the Vikings’ junior varsity team will now spend most of practice working alongside the varsity team, Hennessee said.

“Younger kids get a little bit better coaching,” Hennessee said. “Younger guys get better faster because they are going against varsity guys a lot of times in drills, and just the quality of coaching is better.”

Hennessee comes to the Vikings after coaching the last three years at Desert Hot Springs High School near Palm Springs, Calif., before that he spent six years in the Bay Area.

“My impression is he is a passionate coach,” Gorman said. “He is knowledgeable about the sport, knowledgeable about how to handle adolescent teens, and I think he will be a good asset. The third or fourth thing out of his mouth is that he is here for the long haul, which is what these kids need. They need that consistency and continuity.”

Hennessee has taken over a program that has gone 5-33 over the past four years and has not made the playoffs since 2004, when they lost in the first round to McQueen.

Last year, Hennessee compiled a 4-6 record while losing five of his last six games, three of those by deficits of four or more touchdowns.

Desert Hot Springs laid off Hennessee due to budget cuts.

“In South Tahoe an opening came up and it is a beautiful area, one that is going to be a great place to raise a family, and for whatever reason, their opening came at an opportune time for me,” Hennessee said. “It is a beautiful place, look what you are going to coach in every day. It is crazy. I was in a beautiful place, so I am trading one beautiful place for another.”