Conti contemplates job

CORONA DEL MAR — What might hold Steve Conti back from taking over as the Corona del Mar High girls' volleyball coach is the same reason why he stepped down as the program's coach 10 years ago.

Conti said Thursday that CdM Principal Paul Byrd and Athletic Director Don Grable have each approached him about the Sea Kings' opening, but the boys' coach is unsure about running the girls' program as well.

Conti said family was why he resigned as the girls' coach in 2001. Family is playing a major role in his decision to pursue the girls' job.

"I have two little kids," said Conti, who has a 9-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter with his wife Kerrie. "The reason why I stepped away from the girls' program was my wife was pregnant with our first [child]. A year and a half later, we had our daughter.

"It's a lot of time [being both the boys' and girls' coach], and I have the attitude that if I'm going to do it, I have to do it the right way and be committed. It could be time consuming. It wouldn't be fair to the [girls] unless I could be fully committed. At the same time, I need to make sure I'm fully committed to my family, too."

Conti, who is an on-campus physical education teacher, said he plans to let the school know of his intentions in the next couple of weeks. He said he is not leaning one way or the other, but added that in the corner of his heart he wants the girls to do well.

When Conti was the girls' coach, he guided the team to the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA title in 1997, his first season with the program.

Conti is entering his 16th season with the boys' team, which he has led to four section titles.

Conti last season served as an assistant under then-coach Darryl Gan, who resigned in January after three seasons at the helm of the girls' team. Conti said the decision to help Gan had nothing to do with getting a feel on whether he could handle coaching the girls in the fall and the boys in the spring.

"I've always said, 'It's just too hard being off campus with two kids,'" Conti said of whenever Gan would ask him to join his staff. "I had an idea over in the summer that I might be able to transfer [from Ensign Intermediate School] over here to teach [at CdM], and I told him, 'If and when I do, I will still help out.' Now, it ended up not happening until Oct. 1, [when I transferred], but once I did, I still said I'm going to hold to my commitment.

"Even though I helped with the girls this year, I get really, really excited when boys' volleyball comes around because I've been away from it for so long. I think some coaches that maybe do boys and girls it's kind of nonstop."

Conti, 44, said he has talked to his wife about returning as the girls' coach.

"We're looking at schedules," Conti said to see if it is plausible to coach the girls again. "I've got a pretty supportive wife and she understands that [coaching volleyball] is a passion of mine. I also think she's also seen, as my kids have gotten older, having them exposed to our guys' team, even a little bit to our girls' team, I think we've got great role models for our kids."

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