Vikings go with Gorman |

Vikings go with Gorman

Jeremy Evans
Dan Thrift/Tahoe Daily Tribune New South Tahoe High School football coach Mike Gorman talks with his squad Monday at STHS.

Mike Gorman was officially introduced as the South Tahoe High School varsity football coach on Monday, just days after Nick Samaras resigned because of “personal issues.”

After spending the 2005 season as a defensive line coach under Samaras, Gorman inherits a team that went 1-8 last season and will need to replace 18 seniors.

Gorman, who is retired and moved to South Lake Tahoe in 2004, coached in the Bay Valley Athletic League for 12 years at Clayton Valley High School in Concord. He was an assistant coach at Clayton Valley, which competed against schools such as Antioch, Pittsburg and national powerhouse De La Salle. He said he helped the Eagles reach the North Coast Section championship games in 1996 and 1997.

“I was assistant coach so I think the transition to head coach will be seamless,” Gorman said. “The kids know me. I’ve been here a year. I think it would be very difficult to step in here if the kids didn’t already know you.”

Usually when a coaching position becomes vacant, the STHS athletic department goes through a process of advertising the position, interviewing selected candidates and then bringing finalists in front of a panel. Given the short notice South Tahoe had to find a new coach, athletic director Don Borges and athletic administrator Jack Stafford had to act fast.

Both Borges and Stafford said the “interim” tag has been placed on Gorman, meaning interested coaches will be eligible to apply for the position after the season.

“If this situation happened two months ago, then we could go through the process,” Borges said. “I feel very comfortable with Mike being part of the program. To take somebody outside the program and put them in this position, it would almost be impossible to do.”

Samaras resigned last Thursday after just one season with the program because “something came up and I have to take care of it. It was just personal reasons.” He was hired as Whittell’s varsity coach in 2003, but the Warriors canceled their season due to low numbers. He coached in various capacities at North Valleys, Dayton and Fallon before taking over the Vikings’ program in May of 2005.

Samaras was present for an arranged meeting on Monday at STHS, thanking the players for their hard work and then telling them, “I love all you guys. I wish I could be with you, but circumstances won’t allow that to happen.”

Before he left, the players huddled together and gave one final STHS cheer with their former coach. Samaras walked away and then Gorman stepped in and talked with his players for the first time as their head coach.

“You always build a bond with the kids, whatever school you go to,” Samaras said. “This is a great group of kids. They’ve done everything I’ve asked them to do. I wish him the best of luck. That’s the only comment I have.”

His resignation last week came exactly 14 days before the Vikings open fall practice on Aug. 10. It was just the latest development for a position that has been difficult to keep filled the past six years.

Gorman is the seventh head coach South Tahoe has had since 2000. Chris Morgan and Rod Robison were co-coaches in 2002 and Todd McIntyre and Eric Beavers were co-coaches in 2004.

South Tahoe’s lone win last season was a 52-0 victory over Foresthill. The Vikings made the Northern 4A playoffs in 2003 and 2004.

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