Frequently, when an opening occurs to coach a high school varsity sports team a losing season has taken place or a veteran coach has retired.
Neither has happened at Palisades High, and that’s why Mike Voelkel, who has experience coaching high school teams in the state of Washington, has the rarest of opportunities.
Voelkel is the new baseball coach at Palisades High, and he takes over a team that has won the Western League the last four years.
Last season the Dolphins went 15-0 in league games, the first time in school history a Palisades baseball team has gone undefeated in the league. Palisades then reached the semi-finals of the LA City Section playoffs, and that’s when trouble occurred.
Throughout the game against Chatsworth High, one of the nation’s highest-ranked teams, Palisades pitchers hit Chatsworth batters with pitches.
Coach Tom Seyler claimed his pitchers were merely throwing inside against Chatsworth’s powerful hitters, but after an investigation Seyler was removed from the coaching position although he remains a teacher at the school.
Voelkel, who has coached three high school teams in Washington, had recently moved to Southern California. He reportedly inquired about another position at Palisades and was informed the baseball position was open. With significant graduation losses Palisades isn’t a runaway choice to win the league in 2008 but is considered one of the favorites.