By Ray Hamill — Less than two years after parting ways with the team in somewhat controversial circumstances, Jeff Giacomini is returning as head coach of the Eureka Loggers baseball team for 2020.
Giacomini, who coached with the program for six years before departing, says he is looking forward to the opportunity and glad to be back.
“We reached an understanding, and I’m happy to be back,” Giacomini said. “I’m really excited to be back with the Loggers and picking up right where we left off.”
After four successful years with the JV program, Giacomini won back-to-back Big 5 championships in his two seasons in charge of the varsity team, as well as back-to-back H-DNL tournament championships.
He has an impressive overall record of 38-16 with the varsity team.
After the 2018 season, however, he says he was not invited back and was never told why.
“I was looking for a new job at the time, and I knew I probably wouldn’t have time to (coach),” Giacomini said, before adding, “I wasn’t invited back the following year. They said I could apply. I really don’t know what happened. I was kind of left in the dark.”
Jackie Christensen took over the team for 2019, but was let go midway through the season, again in controversial circumstances, with the school saying it was a “personnel issue.”
This year, however, with the position open, the school offered the job to Giacomini once again, and he decided to accept after several conversations and meetings with Eureka Athletic Director Kristie Christiansen to make sure they were on the same page.
“I’ve talked with the Athletic Director multiple times,” Giacomini said. “Our relationship now is really transparent.”
The problems in the past had to do with politics behind the scene, Giacomini said, without going into much detail.
“Expectations really,” is how he described it. “What are their expectations of me? What are my expectations of them? And really, it’s important to start the season off in a unified way.
“I’m just glad we can move on with everything.”
Giacomini, a Ukiah High graduate, first came to the area to play for the Humboldt Crabs, where he is the team’s only ever three-time MVP and a club hall of famer.
He also owns and runs the Humboldt B52s, a local summer collegiate baseball team.
Giacomini says he consulted with his wife before making the decision to rejoin the Loggers, and that he is looking forward to the challenge and hoping to help secure the program’s first North Coast Section playoff win since 2015 after four consecutive first-round losses.
“I, as a coach, absolutely have some unfinished business,” he said.
“We unfortunately could not get by that first round of the playoffs, and we’re definitely looking forward to doing that, but first and foremost we’ve got to go out and get game one.
“We’re going to go after that league championship. There are four other very good teams that are very well coached. It’s going to be a fun year of baseball.”
Team tryouts begin on February 10.