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High Schools: No double duty for Conti

April 18, 2011|David Carrillo PeƱaloza, david.carrillo@latimes.com
  • [orona del Mar High offensive lineman Max Priestley signs a letter of intent to play football at Abilene Christian University.
[orona del Mar High offensive lineman Max Priestley signs… (Courtesy of, Daily…)

Thirteen days ago, Corona del Mar High Athletic Director Don Grable was on the road. He went to watch the boys' volleyball team play at Beckman, not to talk the coach into applying for the girls' volleyball job.

Grable said Steve Conti had not applied for the opening and he understood why.

"He's got a family," Grable said of Conti, who coached the girls' program before, starting in 1997, when he led CdM to a CIF Southern Section Division III-AA title, and then resigned in 2001 because he and his wife were starting a family. "It's a big-time responsibility to fill two positions with two little kids. Respect his decision. He does a hell of a job coaching the boys. Am I disappointed or frustrated [that he did not apply]? No. I'd be really disappointed and frustrated if we lost him as boys coach, though. I want to keep him around.

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"I'm not talking to him about anything. I want to focus on the candidates who have indicated they want to do it."

The deadline to apply for the position passed on Friday.

Grable said CdM hopes to have a new coach in place by the end of the month or at the start of May. Whoever replaces Darryl Gan, who stepped down after three successful seasons in January, he or she will most likely be a walk-on coach.

Grable said the job does not include a teaching position. He said this has not been an issue in finding quality candidates.

"In the sport of volleyball, it seems like there's a lot more walk-ons than there are in other sports," Grable said. "We've already gotten many quality candidates. Ideally, we always want all of our coaches on campus as long as they're good teachers, but we can't offer what we don't have."

The past three girls' coaches, Gan, Bill Christiansen and Conti, have each been walk-ons. Conti transferred as a physical education teacher to CdM in October.

Each of the past three walk-on coaches had success while in charge of the Sea Kings. The three have also stepped down because of family reasons.

Gan led the program to three Pacific Coast League titles, two section final appearances, two state regional appearances, and a 73-23 record.

From 2001 to 2007, Christiansen won four league titles, coached in three section final appearances, winning one in 2004, and posted a 134-65 record.

Whether the next coach is a walk-on or not, Grable believes he or she will continue CdM's storied tradition. The Sea Kings have won seven section titles in 17 final appearances and four state titles in four final appearances.

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