by Cody Olivas

Mail Staff Writer

Mike Coscarella just happened to be in town when his brother, SHS athletic director Jim Coscarella, got a call from Barry Spence telling him he wouldn’t be able to coach the Salida boys’ golf team this season.

Mike said he talked it over with his wife in Florida and then threw his name in the hat. After an interview, Mike found out he got the job just before the season started and said he’s now just starting to get settled.

He plans to coach the Spartans this fall and then return to Florida after the season.

“I plan on keep coming back as long as they’ll have me,” Mike said. “It’s going great right now; the kids have been great.”

Mike said he mostly coaches baseball in Florida, but was excited to coach golf in Salida.

He said he’d define success as having the athletes mature, not only improving at golf but also becoming better people.

“I expect them to come here, work hard, have a positive attitude, maintain integrity and have clear and concise communication,” Mike said. “It’s a balance of that – getting better at golf and being better all around people.”

At this point, he said he’s still at the observational stage, seeing what clicks and what motivates the golfers. Improvement of their overall golf game is one of the most important things he’d like to accomplish with the team.

With a young team, continuing to improve will be key.

The team has 11 golfers out, including two seniors, four sophomores and five freshmen.

All four of the sophomores, Aiden Hadley, Brandon Pursell, Cayden Horton and Eric O’Connor, all got some varsity experience for Salida last year as freshman.

“A couple might be able to go to state (this year),” the coach said. “If the whole team continues, I have no doubt the whole team can get to state in a couple of years.”

St. Mary’s won the league title last year based on results from the three league tournaments, followed by Lamar and La Junta. Salida continued lowering its team score throughout the season and finished seventh overall but fifth in the final league tournament. Lutheran, meanwhile, won the 3A state title.

“I’m just looking for the kids to compete,” Mike said. “If they play to the best of their ability, I’ll be satisfied with that.”

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