Gilroy High fills a pair of coaching vacancies

It has been a busy six months on the coach-search front at Gilroy High School. Vacancies have popped up at a dandelion-like rate with coaches leaving posts for a variety of reasons. But with the fall season fast approaching, GHS filled two coaching voids, hiring Kassi Swalboski for girls varsity volleyball and Tim Jones for boys varsity basketball, athletic director Julie Berggren said Tuesday.

“All sorts of situations played into the vacancies that we have,” Berggren said. “I don’t think anyone’s situation has been the same – whether it’s spending more time with family or getting another job out of town. But no one said, ‘I hate Gilroy High and I don’t want to work here anymore.’”

In addition to the latest hires, GHS also booked Brian Boyd as its new varsity football head coach in May, and is currently still on the hunt for a boys water polo coach and girls basketball coach, while the search for girls soccer and boys and girls tennis is in the final stages, Berggren said.

“We have been on this roll of trying to hire and rehire people,” Berggren said, alluding to some of the challenges in finding candidates. “I think it’s really difficult to maintain coaches. It’s such a huge time commitment, with not a lot of monetary support. It’s rough when people have to work another job and coach. Coaching is a full-time job on top of everything else that they do in their lives. It’s just kind of rough sometimes for people to do both.”

Swalboski, who was the junior varsity head coach last season, takes over for head coach Josh Corioso, who stepped down midseason last year. Corioso had been at the helm for three seasons. The Mustangs struggled in 2011, posting a 6-17 overall record and 2-10 inside the now-dissolved Tri-County Athletic League.

“We are super excited to have her back,” Berggren said of Swalboski – a GHS alumna. “She is very enthusiastic, so we are excited to have her working with our program.”

Under the new two-division Monterey Bay League that goes into affect this fall, GHS will be in the Pacific Division, with the likes of Alisal, Alvarez, Monterey, North Monterey County Pajaro Valley and Christopher.

Jones returns to the hardwood of Bob Hagen Memorial Gymnasium after a year off. Jones coached the GHS girls hoops team for two seasons, including 2010-11 when the team went 22-2 and made it to the Central Coast Section Division I semifinals.

Jones is replacing Matt Tait, who spent two years in charge of the Mustangs, leading them to a 23-26 overall record and one playoff appearance in that span.

The Mustangs will also compete in the ‘B’ Pacific Division, where their opponents will be Alvarez, Monterey, Monte Vista Christian, North Monterey County, Pajaro Valley and Watsonville.

“Tim is chomping at the bit,” Berggren said. “Our boys basketball program was doing the best that it could for where we were at and the league that we were playing in. I think Tim will continue getting the best out of our players.”

Of the 19 sports teams scattered throughout the year, Gilroy High has been slotted into the ‘B’ Division in 11 of those under the reformatted MBL. The exceptions are, football, softball, boys/girls soccer, wrestling, cross country, and girls golf and boys volleyball, which only have one division.

“The amount of success that everyone’s program will have will be increased,” Berggren said, speaking broadly about the entire MBL. “As much as you love to play or coach the sport you are involved in, if you’re constantly getting beat up, it gets harder and harder to find the fun. And I think that was the main reasons why the athletic directors began talking about this a few years back.”

With an assumed inflation in the rate of victory, Berggren said she can envision an increase in student participation as well, an area that has experienced drastic decline since 2009.

“Success breeds participation. Look at our field hockey team. There are tons of girls every year,” Berggren noted. “Everyone wants to be involved with a successful program. So, it definitely can’t hurt.”

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