By Ray Hamill — Mike Marcelli has been named the new varsity football head coach at Eureka High, which should make for an easy transition after former coach Andrew Haraldson stepped away earlier this year.
The Eureka players and fans will certainly be familiar with Marcelli, who served as the JV head coach for the past 15 years, as well as assisting with the varsity team.
And he’s looking forward to the new challenge.
“We’re pretty excited about it,” he said. “I’ve been here a long time.”
Since he was officially hired three weeks ago, Marcelli has been busy filling out his staff and overseeing the off-season program for the team.
And the response from the players has been positive as they look to bounce back from a disappointing 2-7 campaign in 2021.
“I know a lot of these guys and all of us are excited to get to work,” he said. “And we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Marcelli will be joined on the sideline by several of his former JV assistant coaches, including offensive line coach Rob Walters, who has worked with him for 13 of his 15 years with the JVs.
Robb Morrow, who was an assistant coach on the 2009 Eureka North Coast Section championship team, will coach the running backs and is “one of the better running back coaches I’ve ever been around,” Marcelli said.
Jeff Faulk, who played on the 2009 NCS team, will be the defensive coordinator, while Bobby De La Santos will coach the DBs.
Marcelli, who has a background coaching both sides of the ball, will oversee the offense and coach the inside linebackers.
As for what we’ll see on the field, don’t expect a whole lot to change in terms of what the Loggers try to do, but there will be some new wrinkles.
“The offense will look a little bit different this year, but it’ll be something from the past that we run,” he said. “We’ll stick with the Wing-T, but you’ll see a couple of different looks from us.”
And for the new head coach, success will be measured in more ways than just wins and losses, as the Loggers look to build on the team culture they have established under Haraldson and Jason White before him.
“Obviously we hope to be successful, but what I really want to do is make sure it’s a positive experience for the players,” Marcelli said. “We’ve got a good nucleus of kids. Some awesome kids.”
Last year, the team never really got going with all the COVID related setbacks and struggled to find much rhythm, but there are a number of key players coming back to lead the way, including playmakers Rogan Bode, Hans Chalmers, Joesph Gonzalez and Larry Jimenez, each of whom are among the best in the H-DNL.
For now, the players have been busy working out in the weight room, and they will begin summer workouts after the spring sports seasons have wrapped up.
“There’s some very talented hard-working kids on the team, really blue collar guys,” he said. “And that’s just the kind of guys I like. Hard working dudes.”
Marcelli is a former Logger player and a 1987 Eureka High graduate.
“I’ve had some good mentors at Eureka High School and a great support system,” he said.
He also coached some youth football before taking over as Eureka JV coach.
Marcelli’s first game in charge will be on Aug. 26 when the Loggers travel to Foothill for their season opener, although the schedule is still being finalized.
The Big 5 will return to a three-week format this coming season after briefly switching to a six-week schedule last season during the pandemic.
However, the Loggers have two games scheduled against Del Norte, one of which will be a non-league game.
“I’m looking forward to getting on the field and seeing what we can assemble,” Marcelli said.
Because of the planned renovations at Albee Stadium, it is unlikely the Loggers will get to play there this fall, but they will host some games at a yet-to-be determined venue.
Sam Edmonds will take over as JV head coach.
Congrats to all. Rob Morrow also an EHS graduate, student-athlete…
Work…keeping the nose to the grindstone…
Personally enjoy it when former student-athletes are given an opportunity to coach the school team they once played for and represented… there is a certain love for the game, desire-dedication-determination-discipline…as exemplified by coaching JV for 15 years …