Orlich, STHS begin to repair the past
Time heals old wounds, and it appears that South Tahoe High and former coach Tom Orlich have started that process.
South Tahoe’s varsity basketball team is participating in Orlich’s Clovis West Shootout this weekend near Fresno, Calif. Not only did Orlich invite Chris Proctor’s team, but he also waived the team’s entry fee.
South Tahoe High and Orlich have had little to do with one another since Orlich left for Clovis West in 2002. But that impaired relationship began to mend a bit last year.
“He asked us last year, and we had a lot of players wanting to go to graduation, so I was unable to get a team together,” Proctor said. “With graduation and finals, this is a tough time for the boys, but I wanted to get down there and reconnect with coach.”
Despite graduation ceremonies falling on the same date as the start of the tournament Friday, Proctor made it happen this time.
“He has been so generous to comp our entry and work with us on the schedule,” Proctor said. “I really want to get a relationship going, and hopefully if we go down there a couple of years, he will come up here again. That would be great for our community.”
In 2000, Orlich unsuccessfully tried to take a one-year leave of absence following 25 years in charge of one of the most successful programs on the West Coast. Orlich’s tug-of-war with STHS and Lake Tahoe Unified School District included a resignation, a rescinded resignation and a final resignation after they rejected his offer to coach the freshman team while overseeing the business side of the program. Before being hired away by Clovis West, Orlich spent two years trying to rebuild the area’s youth program.
Orlich left a legacy behind in South Lake Tahoe. His Vikings won 521 games, including 17 division titles, nine regional championships and two state titles.
Orlich has continued his success at Clovis West. In only his fourth season in 2006, the Golden Eagles finished runner-up in California.
Proctor is hoping at some point that Orlich will at least bring his Golden Eagles to the highly competitive South Tahoe Shootout that he started years ago.
“I mean it was his tournament, and if he would like to come up, it would be great,” Proctor said. “Most of the coaches that still come started when coach was still here, and I know they would love to see him as well. If we start going down there on a regular basis, I would hope that this would open the door for him to come up here for the Shootout or the Viking Classic in December.”
Clovis West and South Tahoe aren’t scheduled to meet this weekend, but Proctor hopes to see it happen someday soon.
“Coach was my mentor and you know how these types of things can go,” Proctor said. “If we played, I don’t think it would be a problem from either of our standpoints, but it might be tough for him to play against his former team, regardless of who the coach was.
“It really isn’t an issue now since we are building our program to get to the competitive level that his team is already at, and for us to play now probably wouldn’t help either team all that much.”
Many of the boys that participated in Orlich’s youth program before he left are now members of the South Tahoe program. They have grown up hearing countless Orlich stories, and now Proctor is determined to give them a visual history lesson regarding the school’s most famous coach.
Proctor collected a number of VHS tapes of STHS games from 1987-95 from Rick Hydrick, a fan of the program now living in Granite Bay. With the help of Local Sport Programming’s Dan Slater, those games are now on DVD. Proctor is also requiring that his players read a copy of Jerod Haase’s “Floor Burns.” Haase, who helped South Tahoe win the 1992 state championship, went on to play at Cal and Kansas and now is an assistant coach for Roy Williams at North Carolina.
“This summer the boys will get to see Tahoe dismantle Lynwood and many other games,” Proctor said. “They will even see Steven Haase’s shot. My hope is that when they see what a bunch of boys just like them can do when they play together; it will make a big difference.”
South Tahoe is scheduled to play six games at Clovis West. They played Enochs and Merced on Friday, then on Saturday will meet Clovis North at 8 a.m. and Atwater at 3 p.m. On Sunday, South Tahoe will play Lemoore at 9 a.m. and Delano at 10 a.m.
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