It’s been well documented that a strong perception of problems limited the options for Santa Monica High athletic director Norm Lacy in choosing a new baseball coach.
To be perfectly honest, only a few candidates applied after Rob Duron resigned.
The man who now has the job, 1992 Samohi alum Sheldon Philip-Guide explains why he wanted it.
“I didn’t perceive it as a way to get into coaching,” he said. “I didn’t apply anywhere else. But I’m passionate about the school and I consider being a coach here a special job.”
Philip-Guide played football, soccer and baseball at Samohi, where he was a second baseman. He then played football at the University of Pennsylvania, returned to baseball by playing a year at Glendale College, signed with the Angels and had a five-year minor league career. He’s been working in the automobile industry and this will be his first coaching job.
He’s made a solid first impression.
“Sheldon knows baseball and I think he’ll do a fine job,” said Duron, who was Philip-Guide’s Samohi coach in 1992. “He’s s an excellent choice.”
Lacy said Philip-Guide won over the selection committee, which included the parents of Viking players.
Philip-Guide has made his first decision. He’s bringing back Chris Brennan as pitching coach. Brennan had the same job when Kevin Brockway was Samohi’s head coach three seasons ago and was out of baseball last season.
Anyone who follows Duron in the position would have been asked the same questions about how he’ll deal with overly aggressive parents who marred Duron’s two seasons.
My impression of Philip-Guide’s response is that he knows he’ll have to also make decisions that won’t be popular with parents but he may be more willing to explain his reasons.
I’ll give seniors the first chance — it will be their positions to lose,” he said. “But the best players will emerge in competition. I believe in competition. “It makes everyone better.”
He says players and parents will be told why one player was chosen over another.
As for administrative support, something that was lacking for Duron, Philip-Guide said he has discussed the subject with Lacy.
“I expect administrative support,” he said. “After all, they hired me.”
Philip-Guide has some knowledge of the personnel. When asked specifically about Adam Padilla, who earned the starting left field job as a freshman, kept his batting average above .300 and did some pitching in the second half of the season, the new coach said he envisions Padilla as an outfielder who’ll likely be a middle inning relief pitcher too.
Padilla is having an outstanding summer. He’s pitched effectively for the U.S. 16-and-under Jr. Olympic team in Arizona.
Like most coaches, Philip-Guide will coach a style that fits the personnel.
“If I have the talent, I like big innings rather than playing small ball,” he said. “I like to jump on the opponent instead of playing close games. But that may not be possible.”
Samohi didn’t have that offensive punch the last two years and Duron made major use of squeeze bunts. On paper, there won’t be a lot of power in next season’s lineup either. But Samohi may practice hitting more often to improve skills.
“I think high school players should hit every day,” said Philip-Guide, who hopes to improve the campus baseball facility through fundraising and talks about being able to conduct batting practice even after Daylight Savings changes and darkness occurs earlier.
On the day I talked to Philip-Guide he was on his way to watch Santa Monica’s American Legion team play a game. The team is being coached by Samohi’s Doug Kim, the former Viking athletic director and present junior varsity basketball coach. The roster includes several candidates for the 2010 Viking baseball team.