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STHS can thank community for its coaching service

Steve Yingling

High school teachers don’t have the time or inclination to coach sports like they once did.

Consequently, it’s a good thing that area high schools don’t have to fill all of their coaching vacancies with on-campus instructors.

At South Tahoe High, nearly 67 percent of the coaches in place don’t teach at the high school.



In the 33-sport breakdown at the school, 21 are off-campus coaches. Eight STHS teachers coach at least one sport and four additional positions are vacant at this time.

Although school administrators prefer on-campus coaches, that’s not their top priority when filling a vacancy.



“Our primary goal is to hire the best person for the job,” said STHS Athletic Director Frank Kovac. “It’s difficult to take on the added responsibility, especially if you’re a teacher.

“The only difference from my end is the ease of communication when they are on campus. The off-campus coaches are busy with their own jobs and sometimes it’s difficult to get in touch with them during the day,” Kovac said.

In past years, South Tahoe coaches have been employed as electricians, construction workers, garbage collectors, day care providers and black jack dealers by day.

Perhaps STHS’S biggest off-campus coaching moonlighter during the 1990s has been Dave Barich. In addition to his daily job as a Harrah’s table game operator, Barich has coached the STHS boys freshman basketball and girls varsity basketball teams and assisted the boys junior varsity basketball squad. Prior to that, he coached the Whittell High boys varsity for two seasons.

“It’s definitely workable. Sometimes I would pack my car up at noon, do a couple things, go to practice, then head into work after practice and get off work at three or four morning, and do it all again the next day,” said Barich, who resigned his STHS girls varsity basketball post last spring.

“I probably drove every scheduler at Harrah’s crazy the last nine years with my schedule. I couldn’t have done it if they weren’t willing to help me out.”

Barich candidly admits that his ability to coach would have been simplified being on campus, but there is a price to pay if a school is constantly looking for on-campus coaches.

“There’s no doubt there’s an added advantage being on campus, just with all the added daily contact with players. During school, they know where to find you and you have added exposure to all the other students, so you can build some numbers that way,” he said.

“But one of the things you get with off-campus coaches is they might be more qualified than some of the on-campus coaches, who may have to be coerced into coaching. You don’t want to drag anyone in there to coach. You want them to have the desire to coach.”

Ultimately, Barich’s off-campus status contributed to his resignation. He didn’t feel like he could coach to the best of his abilities.

“There were a lot of extra things I couldn’t do, as far as scouting and watching the freshman and JV teams play. I’d be leaving games and going right to work or my schedule wouldn’t allow it,” Barich said.

Kovac, a third-year STHS athletic director, doesn’t hesitate to hire qualified off-campus coaches, because of the commitment they’ve demonstrated in the past.

“The off-campus coaches we have are very cooperative and appear to me to drop everything to make sure the kids are getting the best service that is possible. And a lot of times that means they are making sacrifices in their jobs,” Kovac said.

But having a larger pool of candidates doesn’t make Kovac’s job of finding replacements any easier.

“I feel a huge responsibility when we hire somebody. I want the kids to be happy, I want the coach to be happy and I want the program to be a success,” he said.

And more times than not, Kovac finds his solution somewhere out in the community.


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