Open volleyball post causing pains for STHS |

Open volleyball post causing pains for STHS

Steve Yingling

Twelve days and counting.

That’s the time that remains for Lake Tahoe Unified School District to hire a new volleyball coach, so South Tahoe High can put a team on the court this fall.

The position has been open since successful coach Gary Hankoff resigned following last season, citing time constraints for his departure.

“I know that even though I resigned at the end of this past season, a lot of people just assumed that I would be coming back like I did two years ago, but I can’t do it this time,” Hankoff said. “I’d be happy to help out where I can, and I’ll always support the volleyball program, but I can’t commit to coaching this season.”

Hankoff, who directed the Vikings to the postseason the past two years, is confused as to why the position hasn’t been filled.

“There are a lot of people in this town with volleyball backgrounds. As high school volleyball coaching jobs go, this is a plumb one,” he said. “The district and the school administrations are very supportive of volleyball, the facilities are newly improved with more improvements coming and there is a very large base of athletes with lots of room for growth in the sport on the South Shore.”

Jack Stafford, STHS’s athletic administrator and vice principal, said the school has done everything short of forcing someone to coach.

“I’m getting a little nervous. We are doing everything humanly possible to get a coach in place,” Stafford said. “I can’t recall ever having a coaching position open and absolutely getting no applications.”

After posting a 25-10 record and advancing to the regional semifinals last year, South Tahoe returns one of its top players in outside hitter Christina Baghdikian. Baghdikian led the Vikings with 237 kills and was a second-team All-Sierra Division selection.

“I feel bad for the kids that have been in the program,” Hankoff said. “I’m sure that no one is looking at moving in order to play. The reality is that in the overall scheme of things, high school volleyball isn’t very important when it comes to recruiting for the next level.

“The great thing about high school volleyball is it’s an opportunity to represent your school and compete in front of your friends.”

Varsity assistant Torril Purvis was assumed to be the leading candidate to succeed Hankoff but had to withdraw her name from consideration, according to Hankoff.

“It’s really too bad because she is an amazing coach and would have been in it for the long haul,” Hankoff said. “I could see her in that position for the next 30 years. She has the credentials to turn Viking volleyball into a dynasty.”

Purvis, a former math teacher at South Tahoe Middle School, was released as a probationary teacher following the 2004-05 school year. She was a substitute teacher for the district last year but has since launched a new career, Hankoff said.

Stafford said the school will do all it can in the coming weeks to secure a coach, because the alternative isn’t pleasant one.

“One of the alternatives is not to field a team, and I don’t want to go there,” Stafford said. “I hate begging, but we’re getting right down to crunch time.”

Anyone interested in the position, should phone Stafford at (530) 542-2254 or athletic director Don Borges at (530) 541-4111, extension 226.

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