The process has begun to select a new head football coach at Santa Monica High.Following the surprise resignation of Mike Burnett, who has accepted a high school coaching job in Virginia, resumes have begun coming in at Samohi and interviews are expected to begin soon, with the new coach likely to be named in mid-to-late April.That would give Burnett’s successor the opportunity to conduct spring practice in May.Burnett, who will continue teaching at Samohi until June, is heading conditioning drills, the normal off-season procedure. Three assistants help in the class.“Not much has changed,’’ Burnett said this week. “But, naturally, the players are anxious to see what is going to happen.“Understandably, the process is moving slowly because the campus has been so greatly affected by the death of Eddie Lopez.’’There has been a period of mourning following the shooting of Lopez, a 15-year-old honor student who played on Samohi’s lower level football and baseball teams and was popular with classmates. His funeral was held Saturday. Burnett, who has brought the Vikings from winless to playoff status in the last three years, said he accepted the new job because the prices of homes in Virginia are much lower than here. He and his wife have two small boys.“I love so much about my situation here but family comes first with me,’’ he said. “In some ways I’m frustrated about leaving, but the move is necessary.’’ Burnett said Broad Run High, where he’ll try to bring a team back from a 1-9 season, has a nice on-campus stadium, a lot of linemen returning from last season’s team and a supportive community. He’ll go there in July and leave behind a Samohi team that is favored to win the Ocean League.“One factor in choosing a new Samohi coach is that it’s a teaching position and the candidates must have the required teaching credits,’’ he said.“I wish the new coach well. We’ve been building something special here and I want to see it continue.’’It is known that several of Burnett’s assistant coaches would like to have the job. In addition, Malibu High coach Ray Humphrey may be a candidate. He was an assistant in various Samohi sports for 12 years before becoming the Malibu coach a year ago.When Burnett thought he was staying he arranged for a non-league game at perennial powerhouse Los Alamitos High, which will be played in the fifth week of next season, and a return game at Corsair Field in 2007.The new coach wil inherit all-CIF receiver and defensive back Cameron Collins, all-league first team running back Lewis Adeyemi and second team all-league choices Ryan Katz (quarterback) and EJ. Woods (running back).
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