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Prep Notebook

Tonn makes return to coaching ranks

Harvey Tonn has coached a little bit of everything.

He coached freshman basketball 13 years, track and field, junior high football and baseball at Crater High in the late 1960s and early '70s.

Tonn even coached Malot's Mudhens, a powerhouse men's fastpitch softball team for five years.

But it's been a while since Tonn gave a pep talk and sent his troops to battle -- a couple of decades as a matter of fact.

But Tonn has found his way back into the coaching ranks this spring. His alma mater needed a golf coach and Tonn has a little more time on his hands these days.

The 60-year-old Crater High graduate retired after 33 years as an educator in the Central Point School District -- most of them at Scenic Middle School, where he was principal for 18 years.

Like I told somebody, just because I retired doesn't mean I've died, Tonn says. I can choose the things I do.

When you're a principal, you don't have the time. Even though your love may be with coaching.

But retiring didn't mean he turned his back on athletics.

When the Southern Oregon Conference district track-and-field meet rolls around in May, it will mark the 16th year Tonn has fired the starter's pistol.

He's also been a starter for Southern Oregon University meets and Crater's football statistician.

When Crater athletic director Dan Speasl approached him about overseeing the golf program, he was happy to help out.

I'm not a real good golfer, not a technician, Tonn says. But I do know how to work kids.

Tonn doesn't intend to coach for a long time, but he probably will be around for at least one more season.

I don't see me coming in for one year and then bailing out, Tonn says. Kids need continuity if they're going to have any kind of successful program.

GRANTS PASS UPDATE: Work continues on the classy new Heater-Newman Gymnasium in Grants Pass.

The locker rooms will be ready for use Aug. — and the gym floors on Nov. 1.

That means the Grants Pass volleyball team will take its turn playing home matches off campus this fall. The Cavers completed their schedule before the old facility came down last November. Basketball games and wrestling matches were played at North and South middle schools last winter. The Volleyball team will play at North Middle School.

The football field will be torn up and reworked in late April after concrete work is finished on the new eastside bleachers.

REVERSAL: After a season of playing basketball on Friday and Saturday nights, SOC coaches and athletic directors now prefer Tuesdays and Fridays.

Conference ADs voted to recommended returning to the way things were done from the mid-1980s through 1996-97 earlier this month. Now it's up to the principals, who will likely adopt the change.

With Mazama leaving the SOC for the Skyline Conference, it reduced the number of trips over the Cascades. Plus, Klamath Union and Roseburg won't meet on Tuesdays. The athletic directors also decided to move up starting times for varsity basketball games a half-hour to 7 p.m. Junior varsity contests will start at 5:15 p.m. Wrestling weigh-ins will start at 4:30 and varsity matches are slated to start at 7 p.m.

BANDING TOGETHER: SOC athletic directors will try to dissuade their peers statewide from supporting a couple of football playoff proposals next month.

One proposal might limit the SOC to two playoff teams every other year. A second would push the playoff field to 36 teams, but with this scenario: Final regular season games would be played Thursday, fourth-place teams would open the playoffs on Tuesday and the second round would be played the following Saturday.

Whatever happened to the five-quarter rule? asks Grants Pass athletic director Tom Blanchard.