Mirror Sports Writer
Norm Lacy, one of the most treasured sports figures in Santa Monica High history, is ready for a new challenge.
Lacy has become interim athletic director at Samohi and is expected to be a candidate for the position permanently when interviews are conducted.
Lacy is best known for his accomplishments as a football coach but once coached wrestling and in recent years has coached the Vikings’ golf team. He has taken an interest in other sports. He recently attended the Samohi softball playoff game against Millikan High.
Lacy was called upon when Doug Kim recently resigned from the position in order to concentrate on teaching. It’s possible Kim will also do some coaching on the Vikings’ lower level teams. He was once a successful coach of girls’ basketball at Culver City High.
In 1990, when his longtime friend Tebb Kusserow retired, Lacy was bypassed for the job of Santa Monica High head football coach although many in the program considered him the logical choice. He had been an assistant on successful Samohi teams.
Lacy remained as a teacher at Samohi but became the head football coach at St. Monica, the much smaller high school in the city. Lacy taught at Samohi in the mornings and went to St. Monica in the afternoons.
In 1998 he coached St. Monica to the first (and only) CIF football championship in school history, culminating his success throughout the 90s while Samohi struggled.
Two years later Samohi brought him back, but with a twist. Kusserow would come out of retirement to be his assistant.
In Lacy’s second season at Samohi he again guided a team to a CIF championship. Among the stars were quarterback James Cooper, who is now playing professional baseball in the Yankees organization, and Charles Gordon, who became an All-American at Kansas and left school early to make himself eligible for the upcoming NFL draft.
In order to achieve that championship, Samohi had to conquer North Torrance, a power in its league.
A year later Lacy retired from football coaching, expressing to this journalist in a 2003 interview that the demands of the job had increased significantly. It had become year-round work. He said he’d miss the excitement of Friday nights at Corsair Field but not the 6am weight-lifting classes. Lacy remained at Samohi as a teacher and golf coach.
Mike Burnett succeeded him, went winless in his first season, then fielded two outstanding teams that qualified for the CIF playoffs. Burnett accepted a coaching job in Virginia this summer, and as part of the interview process for a successor the finalists went through a session with Lacy focusing on Xs and Os.
“It was a fair process and extremely professional,” said Zach Cuda, who was hired for the position.