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You know it’s time (Opinion)

Starbuck Teevan
Guest column

When South Tahoe High School, my Alma Mater that I’ve given my heart and soul to as a student/mentor/coach over 18 years, has chosen another candidate, you know it’s time.

When you have to apply for a position you’ve held for over 10 years you know it’s time. When the very program you’ve built over the past decade goes another direction you know it’s time to move on. When holding players accountable is considered by some to be the wrong approach, you know it’s time.

In the summer of 2011, I was approached by Don Borges, the athletic director of South Tahoe High School, about coming home to coach the Vikings, the very school I had graduated from years before.



At that time I was head coach at Whittell and coming off three consecutive state championship appearances, one state championship in 2010. Our season was over after finishing runner-up in state. He asked me to come in and bring some consistency to the program, along with a winning attitude, and help build a successful program at STHS. I agreed.

At the time, I was going to be the fourth head coach in four years. Now, I understood what he meant about consistency. On top of that STHS hadn’t been to the postseason since 1995. That would change in a short period of time … Convincing that first year group of young men that I was all in for them took a little time, but when they realized it, the programs mentality changed as well. We had a scrappy group of kids that year, and that group helped turn things around (Diana, Oaks, Braun, Wightman, Marchessault, Tepper, Clelan, Eymann, Sharp, Sheldon, Noll, Hallard, Grant, Coats, Loftis, Guili, Carranza, Bertalina).



From that 2011-2012 Team to the current team this year, South Tahoe hasn’t missed the playoffs in nine straight years, excluding the 2019-2020 Team that lost their season due to COVID. That Team was poised to make a Regional/ State Championship run. Unfortunately, that group of Seniors didn’t get that chance. Players included (C. Lehmann, Aquino, Lee, Aquilina, Smith, Hamburg, Walker, Friederici, Ross, Wagner, Clark, Ramos, A. Lehmann, Laub, Mathews, Gomez, Gurner) Viking Baseball is not only back, but it’s here to stay. The foundation has been laid, nine consecutive playoff appearances, regional championship in 2021, state championship (3rd Place) 2013-2014.

My goal was to change the culture of the Viking Baseball Program. Creating an atmosphere of Team oriented baseball, and Pride in the program. I think we did that… The transformation of our Home Field is something everyone should be proud of. Construction of a players locker-room, a place for the Team to be together and hang out, play ping-pong, listen to music, x-box/play station. The addition of a professional scoreboard, new bullpens, new dugout benches, helmet/bat racks, leaning rails, new batting cage, turf practice area, remodeled concession stand, foul poles, fence slats, windscreen, hundreds of yards of Premium infield dirt mix, concrete slabs/turf in cages, and endless sod replacement. I know every ex-player comes back and can say that they did that. They helped make that field what it is today.

None of this would’ve been possible without the help from coaches, players, parents, community members. Thank you for all your help! All the Tournaments we planned, hosted, and executed, the effort you gave never went unnoticed. Thank you to all the Parents that knew my door was always open and came to me first if there was a problem. We handled it like adults and not behind each other’s backs. A lot to be said about that. Thank you for being an adult and letting us Coach your boys, knowing we always had their best interest in mind. Also, for being supportive of the TEAM, and not just your child.

Thank you to all of the Babe Ruth Board members I was involved with from 2013-2020 as President of the League. I always enjoyed our meetings. It was a pleasure working with you and putting the kids first. Keeping the League running when some people wanted to shut it down. 8 consecutive years of State Champions at one, or multiple age divisions 13’s, 14’s, 13’s-15’s, 16-18’s. (Dan Sullivan, Eric Eymann, Brittainy Lehmann, Merete Smith, Ali Kipke, Tommy Charles, Kelly Johnson, Amy Caramazza, Jen/Duane Hamburg, Cloud Kasper, Albert Aquino, Dave Brewer)

Thank you to the community. Having been a part of this community for 38 years, its Home. I always wanted to come back after playing collegiate ball, playing professionally in Europe and give you a program to be proud of. A program that helped its players reach the next level if they had the desire and work ethic to make it happen. We’ve helped (22) players over the past 10 years with that opportunity, several of them are currently still playing.

I’ll miss the players. Watching their growth, seeing them learn and mature as young men. Learning from failures, using it as fuel to get better, and enjoying the successes. I’ll miss the bus rides, Ace’s games—(Baby Shark, you guys know who you are). The costume Hit-a-Thons, Watta you still had one of the greatest costumes ever. The camping trips over Spring Break to Bodega Bay or Dana Point. Sitting by the campfire talking Baseball. The boys that saved the beached dolphin (Lucky). Memories you can’t replace. Putting a dead crab in my sleeping bag. Real funny! The Alumni games, especially when the Players won on a bunt that scored two runs… What a finish Moises Cuevas! I’ll miss the laughs and the tears we shared. Thank you for leaving it all on the field, whatever you had. Hopefully you’ll remember your time as a Viking Baseball player with pride knowing your coaches always had your back.

Thank you to all of our Sponsors throughout the years. Your generosity has helped build the High School program, Babe Ruth League, Bluejacks Summer Baseball Team. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Sponsors: Optimist, Grocery Outlet, South Tahoe Refuse, U.S. Bank, Sprouts, PG&E, Mapes Landscape, Dan Miller Cabinets, Paradise Woodworks, Mont Bleu, Eloise Auto, Les Schwab, Ron Fuller Construction, Champion Carpet, Verde Mexican Rotisserie, Ray Fernsten Construction, Meeks Lumber, Wattabike, Alpine Carpet One, Teps, Tahoe Chiropractic, Overland Meats, Century 21 Pam Francis, Freshies, Nel’s Hardware, Napa Auto Parts, Langenfeld Ace Hardware, Kiwanis, Little Philly Cheesesteak, Bear Beach Café, Heidis, Kemper Masonry, Lew Marnel’s, Goodfella’s Pizza, AleWorX, Revive Coffee & Wine, Ernies Coffee Shop, Hotel Azure.

Thank you to all the coaches who have been a part of my program. I truly couldn’t have done it without you. Your honesty, integrity, passion for the game and these young men was unparalleled, and the countless hours of sacrificed time you gave is, and always has been appreciated. For Love of the Game! Loyalty means everything… (Chuck Diana, Ryan Schouten, Jeff Long, Tommy Charles, Doug Russell, Glenn Russell, Donnie Readinger, Kevin Higgins, Mike Tillson, Nick Shaw, Jordan Morgan, Daniel Wines, Kenny Groen, Albert Aquino, Thomas Hunter, Dustin Skiles)

In closing,

The past decade as the STHS Head Baseball Coach has been a great ride. What many people don’t understand is that anybody can coach a team, but very few can run a program. It’s much more than scratching out a line-up, or taking a little BP. Getting training now from someone with very little playing experience at a higher level is like hiring a car salesman to run a fancy restaurant. Not going to end well. We’ll see what happens when the group of players that graduates next year is gone and the trail of waste is left behind. The true test of coaching ability, will be highlighted. It’s easy when you have a talented roster, not so much when there’s growing pains. Too many times you see coaches quit because they don’t have the experience to be successful, or the talent to cover for their lack of knowledge or ability. As with many things these days, it doesn’t seem there’s much fairness to a lot of decisions made by people in charge. Without consideration for what people have done and the sacrifices they’ve made, they find it easier to get rid of them, rather than look at the whole picture. A couple of unhappy parents shouldn’t be allowed to completely erase a decade of hard work, dedication, sacrifice, and success of any program or company.

A special thank you to all the Athletic Directors I had the pleasure of working with. (Don Borges, Doug Russell, Pat Harnett, Tony Sunzeri, Louis Franklin) Thank you for trusting my staff and I with running the baseball program and allowing us to mentor these young men. We must’ve done something right if you kept bringing us back year after year.

For Love of the Game!

Coach Starbuck Teevan

 

 


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