Girls' basketball: Santa Monica Coach Marty Verdugo to step down as head coach
After five years at the helm of the Santa Monica girls' basketball program, Coach Marty Verdugo said he will step down at the end of the season to pursue other avenues.
Verdugo started coaching the Lady Vikings in 2006-07 season and led the team to its first Southern Section championship last season and an appearance in the third round of the state playoffs. During his tenure at Santa Monica, the team has won three Ocean League titles.
Verdugo, an American history and U.S. government teacher, said he plans to teach next year and hopes to pursue other basketball-related options in the near future.
"I had a five-year plan," Verdugo said. "I'm ready for some new challenges."
If challenges are what Verdugo is seeking, he's sure going to get some over the next few weeks.
Santa Monica (11-2), ranked No. 7 in the Southland by The Times, will play No. 3 Mater Dei on Jan. 8, No. 4 Troy on Jan. 17 and No. 2 Long Beach Poly on Jan. 22.
Verdugo said he scheduled such tough regular-season games because he wanted to prepare his team to make a Hoosiers-type run during the playoffs.
"That's what I'm hoping for," Verdugo said, laughing.
-- Melissa Rohlin