Doug Nicol knows a little about running a successful high school program.
For 11 seasons, ending in 2004, Nicol helped the Burroughs High girls' basketball team thrive. Along with turning out all-league and All-CIF Southern Section athletes, his teams ÃÂÃÂ¿ÃÂÃÂ¿ÃÂÃÂ¿consistently won and were regular participants in the playoffs.
Nicol has agreed to return to Burroughs to again take a head-coaching job. However, this time he will lead the Indians' softball program.
"I kind of cut my teeth the last couple of years coaching in travel ball," said Nicol, who also coached two years under former coach Ken Bailey when he was at Burroughs. "I fell in love with the sport and I have really become more involved in softball."
When the possibility of coaching the Indians presented itself, Nicol — who also teaches at ohn Muir Middle School — jumped at the chance.
"To me, it's a huge challenge," he said. "The program is doing well and I'm really excited to be a part of it."
Nicol is fresh from helping coach the Burbank Major All-Star 12-and-under team to the championship game of the 2010 Little League Softball World Series. His daughter, Delaney, was the starting second baseman on the team.
A 1982 Burroughs graduate, Nicol, who also has a son, Kyle, takes over the Indians softball program from Jose Valle, who stepped down. He also finds himself with a team that's coming off a successful season.
The Indians erased years of futility to win the Pacific League title last spring. It was the program's first championship in 28 years. Under Valle, Burroughs (18-10) defeated Burbank in the final regular-season game to clinch the undisputed championship. The Indians also won their playoff opener against Paso Robles, 3-2, before falling in the second round to Ayala, 12-0.
"There are a lot of good players coming back," Nicol said. "I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel here. We want to continue the success the program has had under Valle. What they had been doing has worked, and I just want to bring in my own touch. But I'm not going to change a lot of things."
Nicol said he has also assembled his staff, and that group includes Sara Larquier. An assistant under Valle, Larquier is a former All-CIF standout at Burroughs who went on to earn All-American honors at the University of Virginia. She also played for the National Pro Fastpitch league.
Larquier played for Nicol in the basketball program at Burroughs.
"One of the things in my mind when I was thinking about taking the job was being able to keep Sara," Nicol said. "I asked her if she would come along with me and she said 'If you're there, I'm there.' "
Nicol left the Burroughs basketball program in 2004 to spend more time with his family. He departed the coaching ranks with a 201-116 record, after serving as an assistant coach under Jim Couch at Bellarmine-Jefferson High for eight years.
The coach's best season came in 2002, when an Indians team led by Larquier, Gracie Coronado and Tulyah Gaines went 22-7 and advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division IIA quarterfinals.
"What we were able to do with the girls' basketball program when I was here is what we want to do with the softball program," Nicol said. "We have great softball players from this area and I think that we can continue the success and win some games."