Coaching controversy could have been averted |

Coaching controversy could have been averted

Column by Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

So much has transpired in our neck of the woods during the past week that it would be remiss to focus on one topic.

Forgive me while I digress from issue to issue.

Unless you have been away changing skateboard wheels for Tony Hawk at the X Games in Philadelphia, then you probably know that Eric Beavers is no longer the varsity football coach at South Tahoe High School. The University Nevada Hall of Famer resigned Aug. 13 under protest, but was rehired Tuesday as a junior varsity assistant.

Beavers essentially lost his job for what many other coaches in Nevada do without recourse: conduct off-season training as mandatory, not voluntary workouts.

Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association rules stipulate that off-season training must be voluntary and may not be a prerequisite for a team tryout.

Beavers broke that rule as early as January and Lake Tahoe Unified School District Superintendent Diane Scheerhorn and the STHS administration knew about it a month later and did nothing.

During a special meeting in February called by Scheerhorn and attended by school administrators and two school board members, a parent wished to have her son reinstated on the team. Beavers informed those in attendance that the player could return to the team if he lifted weights every other day.

School officials seemed to support Beavers that night and during a subsequent meeting because he was never advised to change his coaching approach.

“We don’t vote on how Eric runs his program,” Scheerhorn said. “You should know as the varsity head coach that you still have to live by the rules.”

Jack Stafford, vice principal and athletic administrator at STHS, said he didn’t learn of the rules violation until mid-June.

“No problem came to the surface until the middle of June when some of these kids said, ‘Coach, I’m going to the beach,’ ” Stafford said.

However, when Beavers proposed in June to drop the varsity program for a year, that is when the school began to take notice that his off-season workouts were in violation of NIAA rules.

“McQueen can get away with it because they don’t have a numbers issue. We’re numerically challenge,” Stafford said. ” You can’t operate an off-season program with the idea that you might put a varsity sport in jeopardy.”

The hottest sports issue in Lake Tahoe reached a feel-good conclusion on Tuesday when the school showed Beavers compassion that other coaches — namely Tom Orlich — who have left under shaky terms, haven’t received.

“It’s never been about how bad Eric Beavers has been,” Stafford said. “I think the world of Eric. Eric Beavers can bring a lot to a program.”

Beavers is the third Viking coach in less than a decade to resign and then be rehired as a STHS coach — former football coach Tim Jaureguito and current wrestling coach Jack Lopez are the others. Now it will be interesting to see if Beavers asks less of his players in the off-season.

If his approach is similar, the school administration owes it to Beavers or any other coach who asks athletes to train during the off-season, to supervise the programs and treat them consistently.

Orlich is gone, but you’ll still read about him

During the past month the sports desk at the Tribune has received an occasional phone call or letter expressing shock over reports that Orlich was interviewing with other school districts.

Their fears became reality last Wednesday when the Clovis Unified School District approved the hiring of Orlich as its new boys basketball coach at Clovis West.

I’m not sorry to see Orlich leave because I know he’ll be appreciated and supported by his new school in Fresno. But what bugs me is that some people in this town have the nerve to phone in and threaten a subscription cancellation if we write another story on Orlich now that he is gone.

Why so much hate?

I can’t wait for Orlich to win his first California state championship, because the Tribune will run a story on this great accomplishment the next day.

Orlich gave 27 years of his life to our children. Although he asked for a lot in return, he gave many troubled teens a structure to become successful in the future. He’s someone we can’t forget.

Even his enemies will have to admit that it won’t be the same without him.

Whittell Cup is a must see

Naturally, the opening of preseason practices should heal some of these wounds.

Some of the storylines to look for in the months to come:

— Will Whittell senior soccer player Nestor Flores net more than the 36 goals he’s scored the past two years? As one of the most talented players in Nevada, soccer fans shouldn’t miss the inaugural Warrior Cup, a four-team tournament that will include Joe Winters’ STHS squad Aug. 30-31.

“I haven’t seen anyone with his skill level in the seven years I’ve been here,” said WHS coach Steve Maltase. “He’s (NCAA) D1 potential, and he could always go play pro.”

With Flores matched against Viking stars Alex Torres and Leon Abravanel, South Shore soccer fans won’t want to miss a rare meeting between the border rivals.

— The early release of STHS’s volleyball schedule doesn’t include a match against the Warriors, but Viking coach Gary Hankoff insists the teams will meet prior to the zone tournament in late October or early November. STHS won last year’s meeting.

May all of your prep dreams come true.

— Steve Yingling can be reached (530) 542-8010 or

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