The Santa Monica High football team won eight games and lost three in the recently completed season.
So, why is the head coaching position being advertised on the California Interscholastic Federation website?
Nobody is talking. Not Athletic Director Norm Lacy, not Coach Zach Cuda nor anyone else, at least for the record.
But the buzz in the local football community is that a change is forthcoming. Although Samohi has made no announcement, multiple sources indicate that Cuda, his brother, defensive coordinator Conrad Cuda, and assistant Pat Dunn have resigned their coaching positions but may remain at the school as teachers.
Since nothing has been announced, only speculation can be reported from conversations with numerous followers of the local football scene.
The consensus is that Samohi’s third place finish in the Ocean League this season didn’t meet the school’s goal. Nor did the fact that in Cuda’s three years as head coach Culver City won the league championship every year and Samohi failed to win a playoff game.
On consecutive Friday nights this season, Samohi lost home league games to Culver City and Beverly Hills.
In the coach’s defense, the Vikings came back with a road win over Inglewood which resulted in a playoff berth.
But in the rollercoaster ride which was the Vikings’ season, they lost a first round playoff game to Warren High of Downey.
So they lost two important league games and their playoff opener. But they did win all the other games. Shouldn’t that be enough for the coach to keep his job?
Maybe at a lot of other schools, but not at Samohi, sources indicate.
Santa Monica High has a proud football tradition, which includes a couple of CIF championships. The most recent one, in 2001, occurred when Lacy was head coach.
Lacy is now the Athletic Director.
When Lacy gave up coaching, Mike Burnett was his successor. Burnett’s initial team went 0-9, including a loss to St. Monica. He then did considerably better and had the program headed back in the right direction.
But three years ago Burnett left to coach a high school team in Virginia. He said he was happy at Samohi but he and his wife were concerned about the price of buying a home in Southern California. Zach Cuda, who had been a Samohi assistant, was Burnett’s choice as his successor.
At that time Ray Humphrey was a well-qualified candidate. Humphrey had been an assistant coach at Samohi for 12 years in various sports, including football. He was disappointed in the decision and subsequently accepted the head coaching job at Malibu High.
It is not known if Humphrey will be a candidate this time.
According to sources, Samohi is expected to begin interviewing for the position in January.