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Olson excited about return to coaching in O.C.

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Mitch Olson last coached a high school football game in Orange County on Dec. 1, 2007, when his Kennedy team lost to Pacifica in the 2007 CIF-SS Southern Division semifinals.

After 21 seasons as the head coach at Kennedy, he moved across the country to continue his coaching career at Oconee County High in Watkinsville, Ga.

Nearly a decade later, Olson has returned to Orange County, this time as the head coach at Loara, and he is ready for another challenge.

Olson coached at Oconee County from 2008-13. He took a year off from coaching in 2014, a year that, he says, was spent with far too much idle time for.

“All year long I felt like I was cheating when I would go home at a quarter to four in the afternoon,” Olson said. “I felt like there was something I should be doing that I wasn’t doing. You realize how big a part of your life that is — being with young men, working hard on the field and helping them.”

Prior to his stint at Oconee County, Olson coached at Kennedy during its most successful run in program history. Olson’s teams went 163-85-3 from 1987-2007 with eight league titles. The Irish won the CIF-SS Southern Division championship in 2006.

Olson’s next task will be to assemble the rest of the coaching staff and make arrangements for his move back to California. He met with the team's players for the first time Friday.

Loara finished 1-9 in 2014 and has had just one winning season in the past four years. The challenge of turning around a struggling program is just part of what excites Olson about his new job.

“Part of the new challenge is to get the kids to buy into everything we’re doing,” Olson said. “That’s going to be an adjustment period. We’re going to try to get people to get to know us and know that we’re there for the betterment of the whole school, not just the football team.”

Olson is a graduate of Los Alamitos High. Since his departure from Orange County in 2008, he has maintained contact with several friends that coach in the area and is excited to return home to finish out his coaching career.

“The two greatest things about coaching are working with people you love and respect and have the same morals, values and character as you,” Olson said. “The other thing is working with the kids. You love to see them grow and develop into young men. I’ve missed that, and I’m excited to be back.”


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