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Former U.S. Ski Team coach tickled to be coaching football

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

Bill Egan doesn’t mind the monotonous six-hour bus trips that his coaching position requires these days.

They are minor considering that in his former job the road trips took him to other continents and kept him away from his family for months at a time.

Several years ago, Egan traded in his high-profile U.S. Ski Team coaching position to teach football to high school students in Bishop, Calif.

“When they hired me for the job, they said, ‘You know you have to travel a lot,’ and I just laughed,” Egan recalled. “Traveling five or six times a year for six hours is not traveling to me. I really enjoy the community and meeting more and more of the people here and playing a role in what happens in the community, so I’m a happy little dude.”

Obviously Egan has no regrets as he prepares for his third season as the Broncos’ varsity coach.

“I’m very content,” said Egan, who served a U.S. Ski Team coach for 13 years. “I don’t miss traveling and you can’t do that sort of thing forever. I’d done it for a long time and I had my fill.

“I wanted to get back down here and not have to travel and I wanted to be involved with the community. That’s important in one’s life. Having friends and community is a big part of your life. If you have a ski team, you can have that as well a bit, but really you can’t end up marrying the ski team. After a while it’s not difficult to have a divorce there.”

Egan’s Broncos will visit South Tahoe High on Saturday for a season-opening game against the Vikings.

What Egan does miss, though, are the people he worked with, especially the athletes.

“They are fantastically dedicated and wonderful athletes,” he said. “Daron Rahlves, what a great guy. You just don’t meet a better person than him. He was so much fun to be around and it was wonderful to be around a world-class athlete like that.”

Rahlves provided Egan with one of the highlights of his skiing career. The Truckee skier captured the super-G title at the 2001 World Championships in St. Anton, Austria.

“That was absolutely wonderful being on top at absolutely the right moment,” Egan said.

Egan also coached Tommy Moe when he won gold in downhill and silver in super-G at the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway. His resignation followed Rahlves’ championship and surprised some because of the timing — a year before the Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

“I left on great terms and all of those guys are still my friends. I did the right thing,” Egan said. “I knew everything was in place and nobody was gonna miss me. Most people thought it was pretty stupid during an Olympic year, but I’ve been to some Olympics and I knew the situation was gonna be very strong for the team. I knew they would be able to come up with a great Olympic year and then reorganize after the Olympics like they always had to, but they (got to) start a year before.”

The former Saddleback Community College football coach’s success as a ski coach has carried over to gridiron. Last year, his Broncos advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division XII semifinals.

In fact, his running back Ralph Cataldo put up some numbers that some observers could have mistaken for career figures. Cataldo, now at Citrus College in Southern California, rushed for 3,200 yards and 37 touchdowns.

Despite losing Cataldo, Egan welcomed back 12 starters to fall practice and he sounds like a man who has the best job in town.

“I’m enjoying it tremendously,” he said. “We’ve got some quickness and I have some really good kids who are really into it. They have really good team spirit and cohesion, so they’re really great to work with.”

Egan has no illusions of facing the victory-challenged squads the Vikings put on the field for the past two years. He has scouted them and sees no reason why the Vikings won’t win their share of games in 2003.

“This is gonna be a great test for us. We’re a small school (enrollment of 700) and they’re much larger. Their caliber is gonna be as good as anybody we’re gonna see. We’re not rolling up there to beat a team that is no good. We understand that these guys have more than enough for us. “

But Egan sees the nonleague game as a great opportunity to knock off the Vikings before their program takes off.

“This is the kind of team where maybe we can give a school of South Tahoe’s size a little run for their money because we are pretty good,” Egan said. “In another couple of years it may difficult for us to be competitive because that coach that is there has done a tremendous job and they are going to get better and better.”

STHS coach Todd McIntyre knows his team is in for a tough opener.

“On film they look like they are very well-coached, they play their assignments and they play real hard,” McIntyre said. “They’re not real big, but they play hard and they play fast. We’re gonna have to execute and read our keys on defense.”

McIntyre was pleased with the progress his squad made at last week’s scrimmage with Lassen and Truckee. The offense was more efficient, moving the ball on the Wolverines and Lassen, which carries a 22-game winning streak into its season.

Game time has been moved back to 2 p.m. to accommodate Bishop for making the long trip north.


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