Warriors Basketball

New Warrior head basketball coach Louie Saavedra.

THS Names New Varsity Boys Hoops Coach, Replacing Olofson

Posted by John Nelson, The Tehachapi News, on Septembeer 4, 2015

There's a changing of the guard in Warriors varsity boys basketball.

After 11 seasons and 200 victories as its head coach, Chris Olofson has stepped down and will be replaced by longtime freshmen head coach and Tehachapi alumnus, Louie Saavedra.

“It's time for a fresh start,” Olofson said. “Louie has been in the program for a long time, and he's a very good coach. Plus, he'll have his brother Vincent as an assistant.”

THS athletic director Pat Snyder said he liked the fact that Saavedra was a Tehachapi alum “and played in our program and is real knowledgeable about the game.”

He was obviously excited to take over the program, as well.

“I can't wait to be under the lights,” Saavedra said. “It's definitely a dream come true.”

Olofson, who will remain as the Warriors’ head varsity baseball coach, informed the school he would not return as basketball coach at the beginning of the school year, Snyder said. It was a decision Olofson had made at least three months earlier. “

After 11 years, it just became too much,” Olofson told the Tehachapi News in a telephone interview on Thursday, Sept. 3.

Those 11 years and the fallout of a near-fatal accident in May 2014 were two of the more important factors in his decision, Olofson said.

Olofson was struck in the head by a foul ball during the CIF playoffs in 2014 and sustained a severe skull fracture and bleeding on the brain. He was hospitalized in critical condition.

“I broke my skull in three places,” Olofson said.

Over his lengthy rehabilitation, “I had to learn to speak and write all over again, and my senses of smell and taste have never been the same,” he said.

Another unfortunate side effect, he said, was sensitivity to noise, which made the basketball season nearly unbearable.

“We're inside the gym with the crowds and the horns and the band right behind me a lot of the time. I had some really serious problems with sound for 8-10 months after the accident,” he said. “I found baseball, being outside, to be a lot easier on me.”

Combined with all that, he said, the grind of coaching one sport right after the other had become too demanding, “especially with about a one-month overlap” while he was starting baseball practice and was still coaching basketball games.

Olofson said he was glad to turn the reins over to Saavedra.

“His younger brother, Vincent, played basketball for me, and he'll make a very good assistant,” Olofson said. “He was my shooting guard in 2007 when we won CIF, and I had Louie in football when I was a JV coach in '97.”

With his son, Lars, planning to play basketball this season, Chris Olofson said he'd still be at all the games.

“But I'll be sitting in the back,” he said, “relaxing and enjoying the game,” from behind the band.