A few new faces will grace the sidelines for the upcoming winter and spring seasons at Laguna Beach High.
Laguna hired new coaches for the 2011-12 school year in girls' basketball, softball and baseball, Athletic Director Mike Churchill said. Mark Lewis has been selected to head the girls' basketball program, Alan Ludloff the softball program and Mike Bair the baseball program.
"We are very happy to have these three coaches in place for our athletes this year," Churchill said. "The common thread is that each of these coaches has worked with our present athletes in the past and know what the role of the student-athlete is at Laguna Beach High School. Continuity and stability were important, but the respect that our athletes hold for these coaches made it easy to promote them to the head coach's position."
Lewis has coached and served for the past four years as chapter director for Laguna Beach National Junior Basketball. He previously worked as an assistant boys' varsity basketball coach at Los Amigos (1990-92) and Laguna Beach (2000-01). He also coached boys' NJB teams between 2003-2008, the last two years while serving as Laguna's NJB chapter director.
"I love the game of basketball and love coaching it," Lewis said. "When this opportunity became available, I jumped at the chance.
"I bring my knowledge and passion for the game of basketball to the girls' program at Laguna Beach High School. What I want to instill early on and continue to build upon is the passion and desire to compete. I want to see our players play the game with emotion and leave it all on the court. I am excited about this opportunity and look forward to getting on the hardwood and working with the girls."
Ludloff's pedigree brings plenty of experience to his new position: he's coached several softball All-Star and travel ball teams and had teams ranked No. 1 in the state and third nationally. He said two of his "closest friends," are former Laguna baseball Coach Jeff Sears and Laguna boys' and girls' volleyball Coach Lance Stewart.
"My goal is to bring Laguna Beach softball to the level that Sears and Lance took Laguna baseball and volleyball programs," he said. "I am very excited to be part of Laguna Beach High softball. The players all want to learn and they understand that the team comes first. The incoming freshmen I have seen are very talented and we had no seniors last year, so we did not lose anyone.
"As coaches, our goal is to teach the players the game at a high level and our practices will be run like a college practice. We want them to understand the game and play it themselves, not just be chess pieces being moved around the field. Over-coaching is the worst thing you can do to a player in any sport."
Ludloff said his coaching staff is made up of Jordyn Eichenberger and Chelsie Schaal, and Tony Sais will lead the junior varsity program.
"We are very fortunate to have such a knowledgeable coaching staff in place," Ludloff said.
Bair has been the head coach of the Laguna junior varsity team for the past four years. He is entering his 10th year in the high school baseball ranks and previously served as a varsity assistant at Foothill (one year) and El Modena (four years).
He takes the reigns from Sears, who took the head coaching job in the spring at Servite.
"I am thrilled and honored to be the head baseball coach at Laguna Beach High School," said Bair, who teaches physical education, runs the Noon Sports Program and helps facilitate a Leadership class at Thurston Middle School in Laguna Beach.
"It is a dream come true," he added. "I am very blessed and fortunate to take over a program with such quality players and parents."