Santa Monica High isn’t the only local school searching for a new head football coach.St. Monica head coach Jason Strouse will not return next season, the Mirror has learned. Reached this week, Strouse confirmed the news.“My wife and I became parents of a girl in December and I can’t devote myself to the many hours required of the job,’’ he said.It is well known that a head coaching position in high school football is extremely time consuming with such duties as weight training and fund raising added to the equation. And last fall Strouse suffered through a 1-9 season as injuries mounted week after week.Strouse is remaining at the school. He’s also the track coach and a teacher.At Samohi, the deadline for applications is a few days away following the resignation of Mike Burnett, who has accepted the head coaching job at Broad Run High in Virginia.Burnett leaves behind a team favored to win the Ocean League, but said he’s making the move for financial reasons. He and his wife have two small boys and have found the prices of homes on the Westside much higher than in Virginia.Samohi Athletic Director Doug Kim plans to involve numerous people in the process of finding a replacement. Several groups will interview the candidates before a choice is made, most likely in April or May. Faculty members, community members and then a group consisting of former Viking coaches Norm Lacy and Tebb Kusserow will evaluate the candidates’ technical football knowledge.Lacy and Kusserow both won CIF championships at Samohi 20 years apart. When Lacy won in 2001 Kusserow came out of retirement to be an assistant on his staff. Lacy is now a teacher and golf coach at the school.’’There will be other groups considering other aspects, such as how the coach relates to other coaches on the campus,’’ said Lacy. “We won’t be involved with that. We’ll focus strictly on their knowledge of the Xs and Os. I imagine we’ll rate them and make recommendations.’’Kim feels it will be wise to tap into the knowledge of Lacy and Kusserow. The athletic director also feels strongly that the new coach should have a teaching credential. He feels the head coach should be on campus all day rather than being a walk-on coach who arrives in the afternoon to conduct practice. That requirement would eliminate some candidates.Burnett will remain at Samohi through June. If the new coach isn’t selected by early May Burnett will conduct spring practice, but that would be the ideal time for the new coach to install his system.
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