Four fall coaching positions open at South Tahoe; football interviews start Monday |

Four fall coaching positions open at South Tahoe; football interviews start Monday

Anthony Gentile

South Tahoe High principal Chad Houck aims to provide the top athletic experience for Vikings’ student athletes — and that will result in some changes this fall. STHS opened up head coaching positions for four fall sports — including football — last month, and is currently in the process of trying to fill those spots in advance of the 2015 season.

“We were following the tools that our board approved as we need to at the end of every season, and the tools indicated that it could be a good idea for us to investigate all options to ensure we have the best sports programs we can for our kids,” said Houck, South Tahoe’s first-year principal.

“As part of that evaluation process, there are certain indicators that trigger the need to open the position up to give the opportunity for others to apply and the opportunity to see if we can get better for our kids.”

South Tahoe’s football, boys soccer, girls tennis and boys cross country head coaching positions are currently posted online at, and will be open until filled — interviews for the football head coach begin Monday. Houck indicated that numerous candidates have applied for each of the four positions, but didn’t provide a specific number or whether the teams’ previous coaches had reapplied.

“We’re looking for coaching experience, we’re looking for availability and we’re looking for what’s best for our student athletes as we look at an education-based athletic program,” Houck said, adding that potential applicants don’t need to be teachers to apply.

Though the evaluation process for fall sports began shortly after the season ended in November 2014, the head coaching positions weren’t opened until Feb. 13. Houck said the reason the positions were only recently flown was so they could correspond with open staff jobs within Lake Tahoe Unified School District.

“We will try to optimize the selection of the coaches with the positions we have available,” Houck said. “It is the ideal situation to have a strong academic teacher be the head coach of a program — they’re on campus, the students see them and interact with them in more than just one facet.”

By offering coaching jobs connected with teaching positions, Houck said it increases the likelihood of a coach staying at South Tahoe for a greater period of time. That is a major point of emphasis when evaluating coaching candidates for the four sports.

“We’re not looking for a coach for a year — I’m looking for someone that will be here and be part of my team with me as long as I’m here,” Houck said. “That consistency and longevity is good for a program, and good for a school and its culture.”

The hiring process will begin with the football program, with boys soccer, girls tennis and boys cross country to follow thereafter. Houck didn’t have a specific timeline for football beyond Monday’s interviews — he said the applicant pool includes numerous local and out-of-town candidates.

“We want to do the best job as quickly as we can — we don’t want to wait too long or go too fast,” Houck said. “Football is a key component to the culture of a school and identity of the school compared to other schools.”

In the meantime, a combination of assistant coaches and school faculty is running the football team’s offseason program. Once a new coach is in place, one of the first orders of business will be to select a date for Homecoming — for that selection and the hiring of a new football head coach, Houck said he wants to involve as much of the community as possible.

“I want the process for the head football coach selection to be as transparent as it legally can be and as fair as it legally can be — and to accomplish that I want to include as many representatives of our stakeholders as possible,” Houck said. “It will not just be an administrative decision — we will get input from staff, parents and other support organizations.”

Houck and LTUSD Superintendent Dr. James Tarwater are working closely on the hiring process for all four coaching positions along with South Tahoe athletic director Tony Sunzeri and athletic administrator Pat Harnett. Those four administrators will serve as the core decision-makers during the hiring procedure.

“Our goal here is to ensure that we have the best coaches that we can for our student athletes to ensure they’re getting the best athletic and academic experience while they contribute positively to the school culture,” Houck said.

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