By Ray Hamill — Hoopa High welcomed a new athletic director this week, with Augie Valdez returning to the school.
Valdez, a 1992 Hoopa High graduate who played a big role in the school’s first North Coast Section basketball championship that year, officially took over on Monday, but has been busy on the job for the past couple of weeks.
Valdez has been working behind the scenes with the other ADs in the Humboldt-Del Norte League in search of an alternative calendar for the local schools.
On August 12, the league principals voted 10-1 to schedule three shortened sports seasons between December and June instead of the preferred two-season model the majority of the state has opted for during the same timeline.
“It’s too bad that we’re not going to have regular seasons for some sports, but I think the H-DNL is keeping the safety and best interest of the students in mind,” Valdez said. “It’s going to limit kids having to pick and choose and I think from that point it’s a good thing.”
The three-season format will prevent local student athletes from having to choose one sport over another in what otherwise would have been a very busy spring with nine sports competing simultaneously.
“Hoopa is a smaller school and a lot of our kids do participate in multiple sports,” Valdez added.
The new calendar will prohibit several H-DNL teams, including those in basketball and football, from competing in the playoffs.
Valdez said he will sit down in the coming weeks and talk about what needs to be done within the department to best serve the Warriors’ student athletes.
One of his priorities will be to hire a new head coach for football, while he says he will be looking into expanding the department’s presence on social media.
“We’re in the process of looking for a football coach, and I’m really hoping someone steps up and will be able to lead the kids,” he said.
Valdez and the Warriors reached the final four of state play in basketball in his senior campaign, which kickstarted a golden era for the program.
“We’re hoping to bring back that tradition for all the sports we play,” he said.