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Sam resigns North post

The strain of two full-time jobs was too much for Tim Sam.

On Friday, Sam relinquished one of those duties by resigning as North Medford boys basketball coach, a post he'd held for five seasons.

Sam is the school's athletic director and is also the girls golf coach.

The big thing was, I just didn't feel like I could give the basketball job a fair shake in order for it to be successful, said Sam. It in itself is a full-time job. Add that to the other full-time job I had (athletic director), and I felt basketball wasn't getting the attention it deserved.

A search for a replacement will begin next week, said Ron Beick, the North Medford vice principal who oversees athletics.

— We'll start posting the job and looking all over, said Beick. It's a high-profile position, and we want to take the appropriate amount of time and be accordingly thorough to find the right replacement.

In five seasons, Sam compiled an overall record of 52-67 and a 32-38 mark in the Southern Oregon Conference.

Sam's Black Tornado team finished 4-10 in the SOC during his initial season but rebounded to make the state playoffs the next two years with a combined record of 17-11 in the SOC.

North Medford missed the postseason the past two seasons. It placed fifth this past winter with a young, inexperienced team.

We had a freshman and a sophomore starting, Sam said, and our first guy off the bench was a freshman. We were definitely young.

I think we showed a lot of improvement this year, and I see nothing but good things in the future.

Sam began his coaching career at Shasta Junior High in Eugene, then taught and coached at Fremont Junior High in Roseburg.

At North Medford, Sam coached the junior varsity team for eight seasons and was a freshman coach for one year and a varsity assistant for another season.

Gene Quilhaugh stepped down as head varsity coach in 2001, and Sam was hired as his replacement.

The program was in disarray when I took over, said Sam. That's the one thing I'm most proud of; I feel like I put a positive stamp on this program. I'm not turning it over to someone else in disarray. It is in very good shape, and it's only going to get better.

Particularly the youth program, which Sam and longtime assistant Scott Plankenhorn helped re-organize.

There wasn't a lot of organization, said Sam. There were teams there, but it wasn't very together.

Now, when you watch a North Medford AAU game, you know they were running North Medford stuff. That was our goal. To get everybody on the same page.

Sam's replacement will inherit a young but talented squad.

North Medford returns Jordan Ellis, a third-team all-SOC freshman guard, and point guard Michael Williams, who started as a sophomore. Junior posts Jason Slowey and Colby Neel, junior wing Spencer Stefanson and freshman guard Josh Pecktol also return to the fold.

We had some good kids, said Sam. The seventh- and eighth-grade teams are very good too. The team will have talent for years to come.

One coach who's name surfaced as a possible replacement is Kevin Dixon, who recently resigned as the Phoenix boys coach after five successful seasons.

Dixon, who teaches physical education at North Medford, has accepted a varsity assistant coaching job with the Black Tornado girls team. His daughter, Karissa, will be a freshman in the program next year.

I have a daughter that's going to be playing at North, said Dixon, and I can't watch her play if I'm coaching boys basketball.

Dixon, however, didn't rule out the possibility.

You never know, he said. I'll sit down and talk to my family next week. It's definitely intriguing.

Reach reporter Kevin Goff at 776-4483 or e-mail Sam resigns North post"kgoff@mailtribune.com.